Football governance

As a fanatical football supporter myself, I appreciate that football clubs are an important part of many people's lives and the identity of many local communities.

I agree that football clubs are more than just businesses and I have long believed that supporters should have a genuine voice in their club, this is why I am pleased that Supporters Direct (www.supporters-direct.org) is growing so rapidly in influence and support.

I also share concerns about the governance structure of the Football Association (FA) and I agree that the FA needs to reform. I believe the FA should be the champion of football at all levels, from Sunday League to Premier League.

However, there is a worrying lack of diversity at the boardroom level, which must be tackled to ensure that the FA is truly representative and independent. On 9 February 2017 the House of Commons agreed a motion of no confidence in the FA's ability to reform itself.

The FA has been given until April this year to outline plans for reform in order to continue to receive public funding. I believe we must give the FA the opportunity to reform itself and should only introduce legislation as a last resort. Nevertheless, the FA must be made aware that this is its last opportunity. If, in April, the FA's plans for reform are insufficient, the Government should then step in.

I can assure my constituents that I will closely follow any proposals the FA brings forward and if there is insufficient progress made towards levelling out the playing field when it comes to diversity on both the board and the council, I will press for action to be taken against the FA.

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