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English FA faces ‘no confidence’ vote

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Britain’s Culture, Media and Sport (CMS) committee said the debate on the English FA’s governance structures would take place at the House of Commons on February 9 © AFP/File / Francisco LEONG

LONDON, United Kingdom, Feb 3 – British lawmakers will next week debate introducing legislation to force England’s Football Association to reform its governance structures, a parliamentary committee announced on Friday.

It comes four months after sports minister Tracey Crouch gave English football’s governing body six months to overhaul its board and council or risk losing funding.

The Culture, Media and Sport (CMS) committee said the debate would take place at the House of Commons on February 9 with a motion of “no confidence” in the FA’s ability to reform itself.

“We do not believe the FA will comply voluntarily,” CMS chairman Damian Collins said in a statement.

“It can survive easily without the Government’s contribution of money to grassroots sport and there are powerful vested interests that refuse to accept the right of all those involved in football to play a role in the governance of the sport.

“We are therefore preparing a draft bill to bring the structure of the FA, especially its board and council, more into line with modern company practice and the Government’s guidelines for sports bodies.”

An FA spokesperson said: “We are aware of the discussions next week around governance.

“The Government announced a code for governance for sports governing bodies last year and we are working to their timeline for implementation later in the year.

“Football, like all sports, is following due process and we remain committed to working with the Government towards compliance with the code.”

The FA, the world’s oldest football federation, risks losing around £30 million ($37.5 million, 34.8 million euros) from funding body Sport England.

Five former senior FA executives have criticised the organisation for failing to “self-reform”.

David Bernstein, David Davies, Greg Dyke, Alex Horne and David Triesman said the FA was outdated, held back by “elderly white men” and unable to counter the power of the Premier League.

The intervention of the British parliament is likely to attract the attention of world governing body FIFA, which forbids national governments from interfering with the governance of the game.

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