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Fan-led Review of Football Governance

Volume 715: debated on Thursday 26 May 2022

5. What assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the recommendations on the financial sustainability of football clubs in the fan-led review of football governance; and if she will make a statement. (900242)

The fan-led review of football governance identified financial sustainability as a core issue affecting the game, which is why the primary focus of the new independent football regulator will be to improve clubs’ financial sustainability, to protect them now and in the future. Further details will be set out in the White Paper in the summer.

Newport County AFC is a leading Fair Game club and a great example of how supporter ownership can bring about sustainable financial and governance structures and excellent community engagement; it is certainly true in the County’s case. With that in mind, will the Minister meet Fair Game to discuss its proposal for a sustainability index, which would overhaul the parachute-payments system and reward responsible clubs that demonstrate that they put their supporters first?

The regulator will be tasked with improving how clubs are financially and operationally run. Improving corporate governance and financial oversight will greatly reduce the likelihood of financial distress and make football much more resilient and sustainable for the long term. [Interruption.] The Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, my hon. Friend the Member for Mid Worcestershire (Nigel Huddleston), who is the Minister responsible, has just whispered to me that he would be happy to meet the hon. Lady.

I think the whole country is looking forward to the women’s European football championships being held in England this summer. That will provide a further boost for one of the fastest growing sports in the country. Will my right hon. Friend join me in welcoming the agreement that the FA has reached to redistribute money from the Premier League to the women’s game, and the fact that that will support grassroots football for women and girls?

I am absolutely delighted to endorse my hon. Friend’s comments. It will be a fantastic summer, with not just the Euro 22 women’s finals, but the Commonwealth games; it will be a summer of sport. It is a fantastic decision. Women in sport do not get enough sponsorship, enough time on television, enough support, or enough money. Pushing women in sport is a key priority of my Department, and this is a great decision. We want to see more decisions like that moving forward.