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By Phil Gregory
As the blog that has always written on the big issues such as finance and corruption before they become popular, it makes sense that Untold Arsenal would be interested in a Commons inquiry into football governance.
In particular I often harp on about football finance, but it appears an opportunity has actually arisen to do something about it. The inquiry is chaired by an opposition MP, and is inviting input from the wider public in the form of submitted reports. Tempted? I am.
If you are a regular reader you might remember I did a bit of a Premier League finance review over the summer. From that, I learned a bit and decided to write a letter to the Minister for Sport and Culture, Hugh Robertson in which I raised various concerns about football finance in the English game.
I got a reply back in September, in which the government said, amongst other things, that “football governance is a matter for the football authorities to work on… it is only right that the football authorities are given time to get their house in order before there is any question of government intervention” . To go from that to the unveiling of a government inquiry marks a bit of an about-turn, if you ask me. I truly feel we have an opportunity here.
What I’m planning to during the writing of my report for the inquiry is to put together various articles on the different sections. Once up on the site, it’s your turn to give us your opinion and views of the proposed solutions, and to suggest alternatives and or improvements if you see fit. By this, my hope is that the report will benefit from the collective know-how of Untold Arsenal and its readership.
Once finished, there’ll be a petition that you can sign saying you support the proposals within the report so that we can submit it with real force of opinion behind it. We’ll support the petition with Facebook and Twitter campaigns, so people can show their support for the proposals even if they’re not an Untold Arsenal reader. The issues in football finance should concern all clubs and all supporters, so let’s put together the report with the full support of Untold Arsenal, and then take it further to get heard as widely as possible.
There are six key points that the inquiry wants reports to look at, varying from the uniqueness of football clubs as businesses to the very competence of football authorities. Those two, plus questions about the level of debt in the game and justifications for government intervention are the four main points that I’m going to focus my word count on, as I feel they are the main issues.
Throughout January I’ll be submitting a series of articles to the site, which will hopefully go into their own index for ease of reading. As I said earlier, the articles are being written both to entertain as well as inform so that if you decide to support the report via signing the petition, you do so with an informed opinion.
The articles are also a form of quality control: I’ll be reading and responding to every comment, so if you want to suggest another angle or opinion or simply think I’m talking plain nonsense, write a quick comment.