by Tony Attwood
If you have been reading Untold for a while you may well have picked up on the fact that one of our bêtes noires is the Football Association, largely because of its willingness to spend public money without accounting to the taxpayers who give it, while ignoring the fact that the House of Commons passed a vote of no confidence in it.
Another issue that has got to me is the fact that we never know how much money raised by the Community Shield matches actually goes to the charities in question. I have written to the FA repeatedly on the issue and never once had an answer.
We do know however that the name of the Charity Shield was changed to the Community Shield because the Charities Commission found that there was no proper record keeping going on. They in fact banned the FA from using the word “charity”. (And just remember we are talking about our national football association here).
Anyway, we have got a step further with understanding the perfidious nature of the FA as it has become clear that none of the gate receipts from the forthcoming match which has Wayne Rooney appearing will actually go to the charity in whose name it is being played!
Not one penny.
Even though the fixture is named after his charity.
Now the Charity Shield became the Community Shield because the Charity Commission (the government body that oversees the work of charities in England) pointed out that the FA flagrantly broke regulations by not informing people who bought tickets how (if at all) any charities would benefit.
What always seemed so weird about that situation was that it ought to have been dead easy for the FA to ensure that they did tell the punters where their money was going. But no, instead, when their breach of regulations was pointed out to them, they changed the name of the competition. Now why did they do that?
Well we get an insight with this comment from the Telegraph:
“The FA has now finally admitted that it has never once shared gate receipts for previous games named after charities – although, actually, it has made donations. At present it is not planning to make a donation to the Wayne Rooney Foundation…”
Now I must be fair about this because a few years ago the FA gave £75,000 to Breast Cancer Care for the “Breast Cancer Care International” between England and France. That was about £1 per person. With tickets costing on average around £50. So about 2% of the money went to the charity.
But even though the game against the USA is called the Wayne Rooney Foundation International there will be no specific sharing of the gate receipts. All, or perhaps 98% of the money will go pouring into the coffeers of the FA.
In response to enquiries an FA spokesperson said, “The FA is a not-for-profit organisation which invests millions of pounds back into the grass-roots game on an annual basis.”
At which point we might like to remember the occasion on which Sport England finally stopped funding to FA’s grass roots programme part way through the season because the FA was not spending the money properly.
This event occurred on 27 March 2014. Sport England announced that it was cutting its funding of the FA’s grassroots football programme for failing the deliver results and value for the public money it receives. It was also told to improve its performance if it did not want further cuts. The money that Sport England saved was then given directly to other bodies that were investing in grassroots football.
Sport England took the funding away from the Football Association because the number of people playing football regularly – once a week, every week – had dropped sharply while what they were supposed to be pushing the number up. The report at the time said that, “The FA has improved its insight into why people play football, but they now need to apply it, especially outside the traditional game, for example in the five a side market. Grassroots football remains one of our biggest participation sports, so we are looking to the FA to work on a bigger scale and at a faster pace.”
And the situation this week is even worse than we might have thought. The first 45,000 tickets sold generate no money for Wayne Rooney’s foundation.
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