Football finance bill to be reintroduced in Parliament

SECOND YEAR UNIVERSITY ASSIGNMENT

A bill that would revolutionise football clubs’ finances, and their presentation to the public, is due for its second reading in Parliament next week.

The Football Governance Bill 2013-14 was introduced to Parliament in June 2013, by MP for Folkestone and Hythe, Damian Collins, and will strive to eliminate the game’s throwaway nature and “reform the governance of football in England to make it more transparent.”

Conservative MP Mr Collins has stated that the proposal was drawn up following “the high-profile failures of clubs like Coventry City and Leeds United having real problems in the last few years.”

He added, “It is very important we know what sort of people are running these clubs. This is a cross-party issue. I think the House of Commons has to step in.”

This comes in the wake of the problems facing recently relegated Premier League side, Cardiff City, regarding their owner, Malaysian businessman Vincent Tan.

Tan, 62, has proceeded to change the team’s traditional colours from blue to red, sacked a successful manager in Malky Mackay and overseen his club’s relegation this season.

To prevent this type of corruption in the game, the proposal would see teams in the top eight divisions of English football be entitled that privilege only if they “publicly declared ownership of the club.”

It is testament to the Cardiff City supporters that they have announced that, following relegation, they are will to give “Mr Tan an opportunity to wipe the sheet clean”, Supporters Trust chair, Tim Hartley announced this week.

Phillip Garner, a Cardiff fan for over 50 years became disillusioned with the club earlier in the year and “tore my season ticket up.”

“I know it sounds cliché to do something like that when things are going wrong” he explained, “but for the amount of time I’ve been supporting the club, to have someone like him in there is utterly wrong.

“The idea for this bill is all well and good, but until it comes into force and Tan is out, I’ll be keeping away.”

Brentford Football Club is west London is a prime example of publicly declared ownership in football, with owner Matthew Benham not only being a fan, but constantly engaging with fans and keeping them in the loop.

Via social media, Benham – along with Chief Executive Mark Devlin – tells fans of developments within the club and is renowned for releasing coded messages about transfers before the media have the chance to.

Although there was no debate on the Bill at this stage of the proceedings and Parliament are said to be unlikely to debate it in its second reading, it should be rearranged for later on this year, with little time before another catastrophic example takes place.

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