MPs debate Pompey’s troubles during debate into football ownership

Penny Mordaunt MP
Penny Mordaunt MP
Peterborough United manager Grant McCann. Picture: Joe Dent/JMP

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POMPEY were repeatedly mentioned during a debate into football governance in Parliament.

MPs gathered in Westminster Hall yesterday to discuss a report made by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee last year.

The committee’s findings – which are being considered by the government – condemn the ‘poor business practices and unacceptably low levels of transparency’ tolerated by the FA in the running of football clubs.

Their report suggests measures including introducing a form of licensing that would ensure people who take over teams in future really are ‘fit and proper’ and helping fans groups get involved with the ownership of clubs.

During the debate Ms Mordaunt said: ‘I have met the supporters’ trust and been struck by their professionalism, their courage and the way they conduct themselves.

‘There should be no concerns about their abilities.

‘What is now needed is time and a level playing field for the fans to compete.’

She added: ‘It is amazing to Pompey fans that they can spend 10 minutes on Google and find out what the FA could not, that some of these people should not be allowed anywhere near their club.’

The Conservative MP for High Peak in Devon, Andrew Bingham, said he couldn’t believe the FA had allowed Vladimir Antonov, the co-founder of CSI who is now facing fraud charges, to take over the club.

‘Something should have alerted the governing body to this person,’ he said.

Sport minister Hugh Robertson said the FA was due to come back to the government with details of what changes it would make in light of the report, but that if they didn’t the coalition would be forced to legislate on the issue.

He added in relation to Ms Mordaunt’s comments: ‘I wish her well in her discussions with HMRC.

‘I hope the supporters in Portsmouth can be part of an exciting new chapter for the club.’