On 9 February 2017 UK politicians are debating governance of the FA (Football Association) – the governing body for football in England, Jersey, Isle of Man and Guernsey. The debate follows the FA’s failure to implement UK government’s best practice for sports governance. English football currently has big problems, this is a chance to make a difference.
You can send a form letter to your MP about the debate using the VoteFootball site but it is more likely to be effective if you send a personal letter using the WriteToThem site produced by the lovely people at MySociety. It is likely to only take 5 or 10 minutes. Write about what you know and feel. Be concise. Give links to more detail and evidence. Be polite. Ask for a specific action.
If a relative or friend can’t use the WriteToThem site then they can call their MP. You can help your relative/friend by looking up their MP’s contact information on the Parliament site and passing it on.
Below is what I sent to my new MP.
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On 9 February the House of Commons will be debating the following motion:
That this House has no confidence in the ability of the Football Association (FA) to comply fully with its duties as a governing body, as the current governance structures of the FA make it impossible for the organisation to reform itself; and calls on the Government to bring forward legislative proposals to reform the governance of the FA.
The motion has been bought by a group of Labour and Conservative MPs (Andrew Bingham, Christian Matheson and Damian Collins).
Can I ask you to attend the debate and support the motion?
There have been many governance failures of the FA, and other English governing bodies. I am particularly concerned about the lack of representation for fans and the lack of action against the owners of football clubs who act against the interests of the game, the fans and the communities in which the clubs are rooted.
There are numerous current examples of fans protesting against and boycotting their clubs because of the actions of their owners. For example, Charlton Athletic, Coventry FC, Blackburn Rovers, Leeds United and my own Blackpool FC.
In the case of Blackpool FC despite a £90m “windfall” of Premiership money the club has fallen 3 football divisions in 5 years and could not even put out a full squad at the start of the 2014/15 season. Much of the money has been loaned to Segesta, a company owned by the Oyston family who have a controlling interest in the football club. (1)
The club has taken legal action against fans and abused them. The trust reports that legal action has meant that:
some of the people caught up in this situation ha[ve] been seriously impacted — two cases of cancer, a stroke victim, depression, loss of a baby and an attempted suicide all in the last twelve months. (2)
The fan’s response has been a long-standing and effective boycott (3) coupled with the growth of the democratically run Blackpool Supporter’s Trust (4). The boycott is primarily due to how the club treats its fans, not its performance on the pitch.
Neither the FA, the local footballing authorities or even the local council (5) have taken action.
Reformed governance of the FA which provides transparency, accountability and gives power to fans will help alleviate the situation at Blackpool, and other clubs, and can reduce the chance of similar cases happening again.
Please support this motion to help make that happen.