How well is it working? Regulation of the football industry in England

How well is it working? Regulation of the football industry in England

Room 101, Foster Court, UCL
(Off Torrington Place WC1 opposite Waterstones Bookstore)

Wednesday 23rd February 2005, 6pm-8pm

Given by:

Dr Chris Gamble, Company Secretary of the Independent Football Commission (IFC)


In 1997 the Football Task Force was appointed by the new Labour government to examine some key issues in the football business that were causing increasing public concern. One of the changes it called for was firmer regulation of football, preferably through either statutory regulation or a strong form of independent scrutiny of the three football authorities (the FA, the Premier League and the Football League). Independent scrutiny was the option that was chosen, leading to the formation of the Independent Football Commission (IFC) in 2001. In its three years of existence, the IFC has published 6 reports, and made around 70 recommendations for change across a range of topics including ticketing, merchandising, finance and governance, and equity issues. Many of these have been accepted in some form by the football authorities.

However, there are still widespread concerns about how the game is regulated and what impact the IFC can make, within its limited terms of reference and with no powers of enforcement. The IFC took up these challenges and reviewed its own role and future in Self Regulation , an IFC report published in May 2004. This examined football’s system of self-regulation, questioned its effectiveness, and drew comparisons with other industries, based on research and interviews conducted over a twelve-month period. The report recommended radical change. This was not accepted by the football authorities, but remains on the agenda as perceptions of continuing turmoil in the game in 2004 led to the commissioning of a structural review of the FA early in 2005. This will include regulatory matters and will take into account the IFC’s experience, findings and conclusions. The IFC’s latest Annual Report, to be issued this month, takes up the theme again. This seminar examines and comments on current regulatory practice and the role of the IFC, and poses some questions about how the football business might reposition itself to address public interest issues and alleviate concerns about the game’s central governance.

Chris Gamble is Company Secretary to the Independent Football Commission. Prior to her appointment in January 2001, she was Director of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House). Previously she was a senior staff member of the British Council, serving in many overseas posts, notably as Cultural Counsellor to the British Embassy in Paris during the World Cup in 1998.

Recommended reading

  • IFC Annual Report 2002: pushing the pace of reform
  • IFC Annual Report 2003: a call for unity of purpose
  • IFC Annual Report 2004: going forward (available from 25 February 2005)
  • Self Regulation , Independent Football Commission, May 2004
  • Euro 2004, Independent Football Commission, September 2004
  • The Governance of Football Clubs – an IFC seminar, October 2004
  • Football Task Force Report on Commercial Issues (2) , December 1999

IFC publications are available free of charge from the IFC website or from the IFC office at Victoria Court, 82 Norton Road, Stockton on Tees, TS18 2DE.

For further details contact:

Sean Hamil
Tel: 020-7631 6763

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