October 19th 2018

A report by one of the UK’s leading football organisations has uncovered the Government’s multi-million pound donations to the FA have continued despite the Government knowing that the FA didn’t need the money.

In a 300 page report delivered to the new Culture Secretary, Jeremy Wright, in July 2017 the report highlighted how the Government had approved over £30m of taxpayers money to be handed to the FA despite the organisation admitting that they were “rich” and didn’t need the cash.

Leisure Leagues, who are the UK’s largest providers of organised 5 and 6-a-side football outside London, compiled the Report over a four year period between 2013 and 2017 and delivered the Report to the then Culture Secretary Karen Bradley, along with the Chairman of the DCMS Select Committee, Damian Collins, other senior parliamentarians and Jeremy Wright, who became Culture Secretary in the Prime Minister, Theresa May’s reshuffle earlier this year.

The Report highlights how the FA, when they became aware that they were being investigated, tried to stifle and quash the report by instructing the Football Foundation to insert a clause into their contracts for new pitches that would effectively bar Leisure Leagues from using them.

Sport England do not come without criticism either. The Report highlights how they are closely tied to the FA, employ ex-FA personnel, and have a vested interest in ensuring that the FA receive the maximum amount of money from the Government.

A spokesman for Leisure Leagues commented: “This report is not only highly embarrassing for the Government, having known about it for 18 months and done nothing, and extremely inconvenient for the FA who are just getting more and more free taxpayer’s money to pile into their coffers which they don’t need,  but it is extraordinary that in these times of austerity the Government sees fit to throw taxpayers money in its millions to an organisation which has no need for it. Serious questions now need to be asked.”

The Report also highlights how, far from encouraging people into sport, the FA actively take steps to discourage people from playing football and work against Government objectives in trying to promote healthier lifestyles. The spokesman continued “not only are the Government giving the taxpayer’s money to an organisation which doesn’t need it, the FA are actually abusing their position by using that money to stop people from playing sport, which is a situation the Government are seemingly happy to continue allowing. Someone needs to ask why the Government are so keen to give the FA all this money when they have no need for it? Surely it would be better spent in our health service or education system instead?

On the one hand, of course, you can’t blame the FA for taking the money. The problem is, though, they never know when enough is enough and moreover they never do anything with the cash they take from the public purse – beyond of course feather their own – already well padded –  nest. When you’re entire culture is one based on the mantra of Greed Is Good, you never think of anyone but yourself.

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