MPs will debate a motion of no confidence in the Football Association (FA) on 9 February. Ministers believe that the governance of the FA must be reformed to better serve the interests of the national game.
They argue that presently the FA is structured in a way that benefits the wealthy English Premier League at the expense of stakeholders in the lower divisions and grassroots organisations.
In December 2016 Sports Minister Tracey Crouch told the FA it had six months to reform itself or politicians would intervene. That time has now passed and MPs are not satisfied that the organisation has implemented any significant changes.
Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee Chairman Damian Collins said: We do not believe that the FA will comply voluntarily: it can survive easily without the Government's contribution of money to grassroots sport, and there are powerful vested interests that refuse to accept the right of all those involved in football to play a role in the governance of the sport.
"We are therefore preparing a draft Bill to bring the structure of the FA, especially its Board and Council, more into line with modern company practice and the Government's guidelines for sports bodies."
On 12 December 2016, five former FA executives and chairmen wrote an open letter to Collins expressing their concern about the inability of the FA to "reform and modernise in a fast-changing world."
Its wide-ranging criticisms of the present situation included:
- The Premier League exercises too much financial power and this is to the detriment of all lower leagues due to a "knock-on effect" emanating from the Championship downwards.
- Despite this, the FA is expected to direct tens of millions of pounds towards the Premier League rather grassroots football.
- The majority of senior FA officials are incapable of dealing with the complexities of the FA structures.
- The FA Board is insufficiently independent from other stakeholders such as the Premier League
The debate will take place on Thursday 9 February starting at approximately 2.15pm.