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FA Washes Its Hands Of Newcastle Fans’ Concerns

12 years ago

As if we didn’t know already, the FA has at last publicly admitted that it has washed its hands of any responsibility to fans of Newcastle United and every other club.

The FA has passed over any moral or actual responsibility to the Premier League over issues such as ticket prices, distribution of wealth and other ‘fan issues’ .

Well at least we know where we are now! The Premier League was formed with the single aim of driving power and wealth towards the smallest number of clubs at the top as possible.

It really is like putting kids in charge of the sweet shop, Premier League club owners are not going to see affordable tickets, or the general welfare of the game, as anything to do with them.

This is how The Guardian reported the news;

FA Surrenders

The national representative of football supporter groups has accused the Football Association of “surrendering its role as football’s governing body”, after the FA formally gave up its authority in key areas of central concern to fans. In an official joint response by the FA, Premier and Football Leagues to the government’s call for reform, the FA accepted that it will have little involvement in the operation of professional football.

The FA, chaired by David Bernstein, stated that issues including ticket prices, the distribution of money between the wealthy Premier League and the rest of football, and “fan issues” will be classified as outside its influence.

In a section defined as “Matters outside scope of FA”, a range of areas are listed which have been of major concern within football and to supporters since the FA sanctioned the top clubs to break away from the Football League to form the Premier League, in 1992.

They include: “Club and league commercial and financial matters; club business and operating issues, stadium, customer/fan issues; club/league relationship with other competition organisers including Uefa; club ticket prices; club distributions and parachute payments.”

Malcolm Clarke, chair of the Football Supporters’ Federation, said he was “extremely disappointed” with the document. “The FA is agreeing that many issues of fundamental concern to fans are outside its remit,” he added. “In key areas this amounts to the FA surrendering its role as football’s governing body. It seems that 20 years since the Premier League was formed, this is its victory over the running of football.”

The proposals concentrate mainly on agreeing the areas where the FA will have authority, and its internal reporting structures. There is a planned licensing system for all clubs, which will sign up to rules required by their leagues. The document makes it clear the leagues themselves will draw up any suggested new rules.

The FA board, which currently includes five representatives of the professional game, will have the power to reject recommended new rules, but not to work up rules itself. It does have the authority to make rules on “off-field integrity issues”, in consultation with the professional game and grass roots representatives, but did not define what areas these relate to. The leagues themselves, not the FA, will be responsible for working up the regulations on club finance, which have been fans’ main areas of concern as clubs have been taken over and, like Manchester United, become laden with huge debt or fallen into administration.

The Premier League rejected the accusation that the FA had surrendered to it.

Supporters Direct has argued for the licenses to require a substantial role for supporters, after the government expressed support in its coalition agreement for fan involvement in the ownership of clubs. The football authorities’ document makes a limited commitment to examining the “statutory framework” relating to supporter trusts, but expresses no support for the idea. The FA proposes establishing a new body to be responsible for two specific areas: the “fit and proper person test”, applied to new owners and directors of clubs, which it promised would be beefed up, and to determine applications when clubs want to move grounds. The regulatory body, FARA, will also have a role overseeing whether the leagues are implementing their own rules properly.

Bernstein spoke positively about “a genuine collegiate attempt to make better decisions”, which had produced agreement. “There is real substance in what we have come up with,” he said.

The sports minister, Hugh Robertson, welcomed proposals to reduce the FA board from 14 to “between eight and 12” by 2013, to consult with supporters groups on policy, FARA and the licensing system. He asked that the “reforms” be implemented “as soon as possible for the good of the game”.


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