Kerry Underwood

FOOTBALL IN CHAOS: THE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION IS NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE

with 6 comments


I realise that Football is not the most important thing in people’s lives at the moment, but it is generally a very important part of life and culture in the United Kingdom and, unfortunately, the current problems are showing just how badly football is run in this country at virtually all levels.

There is a pyramid system of football in England and Wales and this runs from the Premier League down through the Championship, League 1, League 2 and then steps 1 to 7 outside of the Football League.

Sitting at the top of the Non-League structure is the National League, which is step 1 and under the National League is National League South and North which is step 2 and so on.

From the top to the bottom we now have three different situations:

  1. the Premier League and Football League have not made a decision as to whether or not the season is over, and so it is possible that the remaining matches will be played, but almost certainly behind closed doors if that happens;
  1. the National League, that is steps 1 and 2, has made a decision to end the season, so that the original league fixtures will not be completed, but have made no decision as to whether there will be promotion and/or relegation, and if so, on what basis promotion and relegation will be determined, or whether the season should be null and void;
  1. steps 3 to 7 have been declared null and void.

In Women’s Football the position is much the same, with the 71 clubs in the National League structure having had their seasons declared null and void, but the Super League and Championship still undecided.

We all realize that these are difficult times, but the message I am getting right across the country is that if the Premier League and Football Association had made a decision, whatever that decision, that applied to all clubs in the country then it would be accepted.

The suspicion is of course that the Football Association and Premier League are more interested in the money from the TV companies than in Football itself, and its supporters.

I have been a Queens Park Rangers supporter since I was born and have had a season ticket for decades. If the last few matches cannot be played, then so be it. I certainly do not expect, nor do I want, any form of refund for those missed matches. However, I will be resentful if those matches are played behind closed doors so that no supporters can actually watch them.

The vast majority of people in this country do not have satellite television, and so will be unable to watch these matches.

The Football Association is not fit for purpose and when all of this is over, we should, as a country, look at a different way of running Football. I am more than happy to advise.

Kerry Underwood is Vice Chairman of Hemel Hempstead Town Football Club and an expert in Football Law and his firm Underwoods Solicitors have appeared in a number of football related cases.

In the current Coronavirus pandemic, Underwoods Solicitors are happy to have an initial free telephone consultation with any football club, great or small, and please contact Kerry Underwood on Kerry.underwood@lawabroad.co.uk or 01442 430900.

Written by kerryunderwood

April 24, 2020 at 10:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized

6 Responses

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  1. Does the Football League constitution not provide for an unforeseen event which curtails the season before it is due to conclude?

    From a Cardiff City season ticket holder with some hope for a late charge into the play off’s!

    L Hallinan

    April 24, 2020 at 10:11 am

    • The Premier League is effectively self-governing, but the Football League and everything below is administered by the Football Association.

      Yes, the Football Authorities are entitled to make a decision, provided that it is not irrational, or discriminatory on any of the protected characteristic grounds set out in the Equality Act 2010.

      As I say in the blog, I think that there would be very few people indeed who would have a problem if the Premier League and Football Association took a decision which applied equally to everyone from the Premier League down.

      It is the disparate treatment of on the one hand the professional game and the non-professional game, and, arguably, Men’s Football as compared with Women’s Football.

      My gut feeling is that they will try and conclude the Championship behind closed doors.

      Kerry

      kerryunderwood

      April 24, 2020 at 3:20 pm

  2. Very interesting article – thanks for this Kerry!

    Tara O’Halloran

    Barrister

    T: 020 7269 0300 E: ohalloran@oldsquare.co.uk W: http://www.oldsquare.co.uk

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    Tara OHalloran

    April 24, 2020 at 10:12 am

  3. The situation is not ideal whichever way you look at it.
    However I am not sure that the fact that most people do not have satellite tv is particularly persuasive in supporting an argument that the matches should not be played behind closed doors.
    Like it or not, the money in the game comes from satellite tv, so if playing games behind closed doors saves the money having to be repaid, so be it.
    In any case, is there not talk of matches being able to be streamed to supporters? Presumably, those with season tickets would not have to pay.

    Clive Booth

    April 24, 2020 at 6:26 pm

    • We must agree to differ on this.

      The money for the Premiership comes from TV, and to a certain extent the money for the Championship.

      Below that, the clubs get virtually nothing from satellite TV and the risk is that if it is regarded as a TV sport only, then it will lose all popularity, and then the TV ratings slump and then the TV deals become less attractive and it becomes a viscous circle.

      This is very much what has happened with cricket, where almost no one attends matches except test matches, and with rugby leagues.

      Good may come out of this: if the cost of football falls sharply and football becomes more dependant on people attending matches, rather than on TV money then, in my view, that will be a massive improvement.

      Kerry

      kerryunderwood

      April 27, 2020 at 11:13 am


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