By Tony Attwood
Let me admit from the off that in answer to that question, I don’t know. But I think I ought to be able to find out. And I ought to be able to find out when the families who suffered as a result of the Grenfell Tower fire got their money. Not to check up on them, of course, but to keep an eye on the organisations that handled the fund raising. Just in case.
And if the victims and their families haven’t had the money yet, to ask why not – because their need is now not in a year or two’s time.
Because I know Untold has many readers from outside the UK where the event of the Grenfell Tower fire may not have made the news, so let me explain very briefly. On 14 June this year the 24 storey block of flats in North Kensington, London, caught fire causing at least 80 deaths and 70 injuries. The final death toll is expected to be much higher. Occupants of 23 of the 129 apartments are still unaccounted for.
The Football Association that runs the Community Shield match each season between the winners of the League and the winners of the FA Cup takes the game receipts and gives it to worthy causes. This year Arsenal and Chelsea both nominated the Grenfell Tower fire fund.
In 2002, the Charity Commission, which in the UK oversees the proper accounting of money raised in the name of charities, found that the Football Association failed to meet its legal obligations under the Charities Act 1993, by failing to specify what money from ticket sales for the Charity Shield match (as it was then called) went to charity, and for delaying payments to the charities nominated.
As a result the FA were severely criticised by the Charity Commission, and the name “charity” was dropped from the competition title, making it the Community Shield as a way of getting around the regulations.
Looking around for information on the subject of this year’s Community Shield payouts the only FA website I could find that seemed relevant was “Who benefits from the cash raised by The FA Community Shield?” Unfortunately this does not seem to have been updated for nine years, although I may well have simply failed to find a more up to date page. If you can find one, please write in, and we can write to the FA to tell them to get rid of or update the old page.
But in the meanwhile I am left with my questions such as
1: How much money did the FA collect in from the match?
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2: How much of that will go to the victims of Grenfell?
3: How much has reached them so far?
4: When will any remaining money reach the victims and their relatives?
5: Given that the FA was forced to stop calling the match the Charity Shield because it did not abide by Charity Commission rules, who is overseeing the accountancy, and the distribution of money to ensure that the right amount is given and that money raised from the game is not used to pay FA debts?
6: Who is overseeing the issue to ensure that the money goes to victims and not to accountants and administrators, and god forbid, the local council?
7: If any money has not been distributed, why is this? After all, everyone going to the game had to pay their money BEFORE the match. If the money is sitting in an account, why?
An independent inquiry set up by the FA found no case for disciplinary action against Sampson. But then the FA paid Aluko £80,000 seemingly with the proviso that she say nothing about the matter.
The England manager against whom the racial slur allegation was made, disputed making the comment and a barrister was hired to investigate. She exonerated the manager following her enquiry although at no time was the player interviewed either by the barrister or by the FA.
What’s more the FA not only paid out the £80k it also gave the player a central contract, worth another £20,000, “even though she had made it clear she would not play for England again while Sampson was in charge,” according to the Guardian’s report (a report that is hopefully more accurate than the one I was having a bash at yesterday).
Of course I have no inside information here, but the fact that the £80k was paid out in a case where it does not look necessary, suggests the FA has cash available. Since it has all the money taken from the Community Shield game already in its coffers, it should have no difficulty in handing out the money to the people who are supporting the Grenfall survivors and the families of the victims.
But maybe there is a good reason. In which case, why is the FA not able to say how much money will be handed over, and when it will be handed over, on a web site that is dead easy to find.
And indeed come to that why is there no prominent web page which details where the money has gone each year from the Community Shield match?
In many ways this is similar to my complaint against the ultra-secret PGMO. If you have nothing to hide, why hide it?
Furthermore, when buying tickets for the Community Shield match, supporters were invited not only to buy the ticket but also make an extra donation for the victims of the fire and their families. Again there is nothing around that I can find which tells us how much extra was raised in this way.
In effect this fund raising must surely come under the Charity Commissioners’ remit, and it would be good to know what they think of this rather weird state of affairs.
Of course all this information might well already be in the public domain and not for the first time I will be left looking like a total prat for not having found it. Fair enough – but if it helps make the information more readily available that’s an indignity I think I can accept.
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From the Arsenal History Society