Skip to main content

Football Supporters Associations

Volume 603: debated on Thursday 3 December 2015

6. What recent discussions he has had with football authorities on the voluntary and community work of supporters associations. (902533)

I have regular discussions with the football authorities on a variety of issues, including the work of supporters associations. The expert working group set up by Government has been looking at building on supporter engagement. I have received a copy of its report, which will go to the football authorities for approval by their boards.

Will my hon. Friend join me in paying tribute to Crawley Town supporters alliance for its charity work through the Crawley Kicks project for young people, and for raising funds for Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice in Sussex?

I share a TV region with my hon. Friend, so I also follow the ups and downs of his club. It is nice to be able to congratulate Crawley Town supporters alliance on their admirable community work. Supporters groups up and down the country make a hugely valuable contribution to their communities, as well as raising funds for their club. Football clubs are stronger when working with, and in the best interests of, their supporters.

The Northern league was founded in 1889 and is the second oldest football league in the country. It could not have survived without the dedication and commitment of supporters and volunteers. A shining example of that is Mr Mike Amos, the chairman of the Northern league, who is retiring this year after 20 years. Like many other volunteers in non-league football across the country, he has done a fantastic job. Will the Minister join me in thanking the likes of Mr Amos for their dedication and commitment, and wish him and his family the very best for the future?

Football is nothing without its fans, its volunteers and the communities that it works in. It is important that we celebrate and honour those who dedicate their lives in a variety of different ways to football, so I join the hon. Gentleman in congratulating Mr Amos on all that he has done to serve the Northern league.

Will the Minister say when the report from the expert working group will be published? We were hoping that it would be published at the end of last month. While the arrests in Zurich this morning highlight the problems in the governance of world football, there are still many concerns about the governance of football in this country, too.

I can certainly give an indication about when I expect the report. If anything, I owe the hon. Member for Eltham (Clive Efford) an apology, because in my response to this question last time, I said that it would be published before his Bill comes before the House tomorrow. I have received a copy of the report. It has been done by football for football, so it is only right that the football authorities that need to look through it are given the opportunity to do so. I expect that to be done within the next three weeks and that the report will be published in January.