Government calls FA to act on debt
The Football Association should take a leading role in controlling debt levels at clubs and monitoring finances as part of a new licensing system, the Government has said.
The Government's response to the select committee report on football governance has been published and also calls for further changes to the make-up of the FA board. On finances, the Government says there should be a role for the FA, working with the leagues, to protect the game.
The response stated: "The Government shares the concern expressed by the committee at the extent of losses and the number of clubs on the edge of viability. Debt per se is not always a bad thing, but it must be genuinely sustainable and should be assessed as a percentage of turnover."
It continued: "Government believes that there is a legitimate role for the national governing body, working hand in hand with competition organisers, to ensure that appropriate and consistent checks and balances are in place to protect the overall financial integrity of the national game and its long-term viability.
"The recent moves by the Football League to work towards a break-even rule in the Championship are a welcome indication of the appetite amongst many clubs for a change."
The Government says there should be a system of licensing for clubs where financial sustainability and robust checks on club owners and directors are included.
The response added: "The Government expects that the issue of financial sustainability should be addressed as part of the recommendations on the new licensing model."
Sports minister Hugh Robertson said: "This country is hugely passionate about our national game and there are many reasons we should be pleased with how it has progressed over the last two decades.
"However I believe that there are improvements that can be made in the governance arrangements, which have failed to keep up with the changing pace of the modern game.
"I do not want Government to run football, so this is an opportunity for the football family to work together to benefit the game in the long term."
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