In December, 2010, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee launched a new inquiry into the governance of professional football clubs, in order to examine the broader concerns that current and future generations of football supporters of clubs across the country are ill-served by current football club regulations.
The coalition agreement included an undertaking to encourage the reform of football governance rules to support the co-operative ownership of football clubs by supporters. The inquiry will consider the case for strategic Government intervention in the administration of professional football clubs.
In so doing it will look at the scope for enhancing supporter involvement in decision-making processes and consider whether current regulatory processes – including fit and proper persons tests – are adequate.
Are there lessons to be learned from football governance models across the UK and abroad, and from governance models in other sports?
Committee Chair Mr John Whittingdale said: "The Government has said that it will encourage the reform of football governance rules to support the co-operative ownership of football clubs by supporters, and there is widespread concern that the current governance arrangements are not fit-for-purpose.
Our inquiry will look at the case for strategic Government intervention and improved self-regulation and will consider models which involve supporters more in how clubs are run. We are keen to hear from a wide range of interested parties, including fans, as well as the clubs themselves and their own regulatory bodies."
The committee is expected to finish their hearings in April and a report is due to be produced by the summer.
The Fulham Supporters' Trust supports the aims of the inquiry and made a submission based on six themes related to the questions below:
Should football clubs in the UK be treated differently from other commercial organisations?
Are football governance rules in England and Wales, and the governing bodies which set and apply them, fit for purpose?
Is there too much debt in the professional game?
What are the pros and cons of the Supporter Trust share-holding model?
Is Government intervention justified and, if so, what form should it take?
You can read the Fulham Supporters' Trust's submission here.
Evidence from others
In addition to making its own submission, the national body of supporters' trusts, Supporters Direct, has collated those from individuals, fans' groups, professional and policy bodies and these may be viewed through here.
In his capacity as a member of the Management Committee of the Professional Footballers' Association, Fulham FC's Brede Hangeland was scheduled to give evidence at the inquiry on 15th. February, 2011.