The English Football Association was warned “the clock is ticking” after a motion of no confidence was passed during a British Parliamentary debate into its governance on Thursday.
Sports Minister Tracey Crouch said the world’s oldest soccer federation was not only in danger of losing 30 million pounds of public money if it fails to modernise, but that legislation could be brought in to force change.
Crouch said the current model of the 154-year-old institution “does not stand up to scrutiny”.
“Reform is required,” Crouch told lawmakers, who had earlier described the organisation as “shambolic” and “ancient”.
“But I repeat that the governing body has every opportunity to bring that around itself. Therefore I believe a vote of no confidence in the FA today is six weeks premature.
“But they should be aware the clock is ticking fast and that failure to reform will lead not just to the withdrawal of public money but further consideration of legislative, regulatory and financial options to bring about the change needed.”
The motion was tabled by the Culture, Media and Sport select committee which has repeatedly called for the FA to be more representative of modern society and the way it makes decisions.
The FA’s 122-member council contains just eight women and only four from ethnic minorities. The vast majority are aged over 60, with several life members in their 80s.
FA chairman Greg Clark has to present a programme of reforms, aimed at bringing the organisation into line with the Government’s Code of Governance published last October, by the end of March. He has vowed to stand down if he fails.
“Greg Clarke said if it doesn’t comply he would have failed and he would resign,” Crouch said.
“It is true he would have failed but it would be as a consequence of his own board and council failing him and not because the government set an unreasonable challenge of achieving good governance.”
Damian Collins, chair of the select committee, said the FA was in “stoppage time trailing 1-0”.
“No change is no option,” he said. “Reform will be delivered to them if they don’t reform themselves.”