Football clubs & the King’s Speech

IN the first King’s Speech of the twenty-first century the government shelved their (post-Carillion) plans to enact a package of corporate governance reforms to regulate directors and auditors but also decided football clubs should have more regulation on account of being heritage assets in our communities

I would question why – apparently - only football clubs need more rules but big companies and auditors don't? Professional football clubs on or near the Thames River - including Fulham, Chelsea, Brentford, Millwall, Reading and Oxford football clubs - will soon have more corporate governance rules and regulation than the company that put 72 billion litres of sewage into the river these last two years. It is also peculiar that whichever Big Four auditor checks Thames Water accounts will also have no new rules to follow unlike professional English football clubs.

The English Premier League is globally hugely successful (currently) but the government wants to clip their wings and give them more rules and regulation. At the same time, any other business and its directors – whether equally, more or less successful - can keep doing things as they are without needing to be more responsible or accountable.

To my mind banks, builders, energy, telecoms and water companies should also be subject to greater corporate governance and higher standards. Not least because – and setting aside their propensity for scandal, disaster and/or environmental degradation - because their business decision actions impact and affect our communities and heritage much more than English professional football clubs.

The idea that increased regulation of all four divisions of English Football clubs is required because they are community-based heritage assets begs the question of why banks, builders, energy, telecoms and water companies are not also held to be so too and, thereby, the same high standards and metrics? The impact of their activities upon our communities and heritage assets is – demonstrably - far greater.”

It can’t be best practice that the Government seeks to monitor but also impose greater corporate governance compliance and regulation upon Derby County, Exeter City, Port Vale and Blackpool but not – for example - Deloitte, EE, PwC, Thames Water, BP and British Gas? Perhaps, Premier and Football League clubs urgently need to diversify into energy, telecoms or water companies to escape any further analysis or future regulatory legislation and compliance?


Photo credit: FE Week