14th October 2020: Lord Faulkner of Worcester:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the “Project Big Picture” proposals for reforming the governance of English football.

Lord Faulkner of Worcester (Lab)

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question in my name on the Order Paper and refer to my interests declared in the register.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Barran) (Con)

My Lords, it is clear that this proposal has not been cleared with all those affected. We strongly urge the Premier League and the EFL to continue to work constructively to come up with a deal that provides a comprehensive package of support for the whole football family. The Government promised a fan-led review of football governance in their manifesto. Events of the past few weeks have made this look more essential than ever.

Lord Faulkner of Worcester (Lab)

My Lords, I congratulate the Minister on that reply, with the contents of which I completely agree. The overriding priority is to agree a rescue package for members of the English Football League, especially those in the lower level, which can generally be regarded as community clubs and are in the deepest trouble. I am sure that she agrees that it makes no sense to use the present emergency ​as cover for a power and money grab by the wealthiest, mostly foreign-owned, clubs in the Premier League. Can she say a bit more about the fan-led review of football governance to which she referred? Will that consider proposals for a national football board, charged with distributing the wealth in the game more fairly and evenly?

Baroness Barran (Con)

The noble Lord is right that this proposal risks conflating some of the governance issues with the immediate financial pressures that many in the football family are facing. The fan-led review that we have committed to will include consideration of the owners and directors tests but, more broadly, we are currently deciding on the scope and structure of the review and will liaise with football authorities while we do this.

A link to the complete Hansard here