A national asset

Birmingham City is not the only football club in crisis mode; it is one of many that are suffering because of the state of football governance in this country. A recent article1 includes a quote from 2011 by the then Sports Minister Hugh Robertson claiming that football was the ‘worst governed sport in the UK’ thanks to astronomical club debts and a gross imbalance of power within the FA’s corridors of power. 

The article is about a recently published report2 that was based on “the assumption that football is a public national asset as well as a commercial machine. Clubs are community institutions and the regulatory system should take this more into account. Supporters, in particular, play a crucial role in the creation of the  ‘product’ that is modern football, providing a crucial source of income for most clubs and the generation of passion, meaning and atmosphere at matches – arguably, TV deals would be greatly diminished if people were paying to watch matches without supporters.”

One problem is that the Premier League tends to exert influence on the Football Association (FA) rather than be regulated by it.  It is hard to see how this can be changed. Money talks and people with power don’t usually give it up easily.

There are some glimmers of light in the gloom; the FA’s Membership Committee recommended3 that the FA Council reject Hull City’s request to change their playing name to Hull Tigers. They listened to the supporters not the owners. I hope that the FA Council will do the same when it meets in April.

I also keep hoping that my club will somehow survive the current crisis. A Blues win today would really boost that hope.

  1. Transparency and accountability are vital for effective football governance
  2. It’s all in the game: proposals for greater transparency in football governance
  3. FA statement on proposed Hull City name change