The Culture, Media and Sport Committee, on which Mid Worcestershire MP Nigel Huddleston sits, held a hearing on the governance of football on Monday with the FA Chairman, Greg Clarke, and Robert Sullivan, the FA Director of Strategy.
The hearing was called to discuss the issues surrounding the appointment and departure of former England manager Sam Allardyce. Allardyce stood down from his role as England Manager after just one game and 67 days in charge, following accusations of financial impropriety.
The Committee is currently carrying out an inquiry into the Governance of Football. Recent events have highlighted the continuing major failings in the current system of football governance in the UK, as well as internationally. The Culture, Media and Sport Committee has repeatedly urged the football authorities to improve self-governance.
Nigel asked the FA Chairman whether the FA was fit for purpose in light of the Sam Allardyce affair. In response Mr Clarke said:
“We’re not claiming to be perfect, but we are claiming to do the job reasonably well. But every now and again an issue like this comes along and destroys all the good work we do. I take my responsibilities very seriously and I am willing to risk my job to succeed.”
Nigel went on to ask about the salary and process for the appointment of England managers. He said:
“£3million for the England Manager is beyond comprehension for most of my constituents. Is that talent pool so small that we cannot find anybody who would be willing to accept a more understandable salary level?
Mr Clarke responded:
“Many of the top premier league managers are earning six to ten million pounds a year. People in the championship will earn a third of that. Whoever takes the job will take a salary cut. The question is how big a pay cut we can negotiate. And we’ll get the best deal we can.”
In response to this answer, Nigel said:
“I’d like to suggest to you that if someone is motivated solely by the fact that they can get three, four or five million pounds then they’re probably not the right person for the role!”
Nigel also asked about continuing questions around governance of English Football. He pointed out that the Select Committee had made multiple recommendations about governance to the FA several years ago and that these were “completely and utterly ignored by the FA”. He said:
“Can we have confidence that you will implement some of the changes not only that we are asking for, but the British Public are asking for? You’re the chairman, we don’t expect compliance, we expect inspiring leadership. Are you the man to give that?”
In response, Mr Clarke said:
“I take my responsibilities very seriously and I am willing to risk my job to succeed.”
At the hearing, Mr Clarke acknowledged that Sam Allardyce had let the FA down badly. He also admitted that some football club owners turn out "not to be very good at it".
Committee Chair Damian Collins followed up on allegations made by the former Crystal Palace player Jason Puncheon against Neil Warnock that Warnock gave players extra wages and appearance bonus to make sure players paid him to get in the team.
Watch the committee meeting in full at http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/a7cda3ab-05ba-46df-857f-b08d05a68c08
For more information see http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/culture-media-and-sport-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/football-governance-inquiry-16-17/ or contact Thomas Barlow on 0207 219 0171 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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