Timothy Alderslade is Research Assistant to a Conservative MP and a proud member of AFC Balham football club.
“The coalition government has a clear commitment, laid down in the DCMS business plan, to make progress on the reform of football governance by May next year. We intend to carry out that commitment.” - Sports Minister, Hugh Robertson, 4th December 2010
England’s abject performance in Zurich last month was a humbling experience for the whole country. Football isn’t coming home – not for several decades at least. 2030 is the earliest that we can hope to stage the World Cup - once Russia, Qatar and in all probability China have had a go.
But some good does seem to have come out of the whole experience. The defeat appears to have focused some minds about the urgent need for reform within English football. The statement above from the Sports Minister, Hugh Robertson, suggests that the Coalition has decided, at long last, to take a proper interest in the governance of the game.
This will be music to the ears of the vast majority of football fans. They have been begging Ministers to intervene for years, having long ago given up on the ability of the Football Association to oversee the game properly.
If the Government is serious about changing things for the better, though, it needs to resist the temptation to just tinker around the edges. Wholesale change is required. It should start with the two most pressing issues affecting the game – ownership and debt.