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Corporate governance: the Football Association and the Rugby Football Union

St George's Park
Friday, 19 July 2013 By Daniel Stock

In this series of blogs, our principal focus has been on professional sports clubs and their shareholders, directors and supporters. However, governance traditionally comes from the top.  Given the roles of the Football Association (the “FA”) and the Rugby Football Union (the “RFU”) as quasi-regulators of their respective sports, one would expect their corporate governance arrangements to be in line with best practice. They are, however, subject to strong criticism.

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About the Author

Daniel Stock

Daniel Stock

Daniel is a corporate lawyer at Dentons and is a member of the firm's Sports group.  Daniel has acted on the acquisition of major football clubs in the United Kingdom and advises on all aspects of corporate finance transactions, including cross-border mergers and acquisitions (share and business sales), company/business ownership matters, joint ventures and investment funds.

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Comments (2)

  • Angus Bujalski

    • 22 July 2013 at 15:58
    • #

    This piece seems to have been written without the benefit of a bit of research, at least on one of the subjects; the RFU's programme for modernising its constitution has involved consultation with its internal and external stakeholders, including a series of roadshows for its member clubs throughout the country. At a meeting of the RFU Council in May 2013, a number of proposals were agreed, enabling the drafting of amended Rules. These are intended to be voted on next season, probably in the Spring. Details are here: https://www.rfu.com/news/2013/may/news-articles/170513_rfu_governance.

    The author is correct that good corporate governance structures are not a panacea. Nevertheless before saying blithely and without further elaboration that an entity does not have a strategy, he might want to have a read of that entity's website and read the strategic plan for the next five years: https://www.rfu.com/abouttherfu/strategicplan

    reply

  • Daniel Stock

    • 25 July 2013 at 12:29
    • #

    Thank you for your comments and for providing that additional information. Apologies if you thought that the RFU section of the blog did not sufficiently cover the RFU’s consultation with its stakeholders over these changes. Extensive research was carried out on corporate governance at the RFU (on its website and via other channels). The purpose of the RFU section of the blog was to briefly set out the RFU’s current proposals and timings for reform. I appreciate that the proposals were debated and approved by the RFU Council in May, and my understanding remains that these cannot be implemented until they are formally approved by the RFU’s shareholders, as referred to in the blog. Thank you for clarifying that these approvals may not take place until the Spring of 2014. Separate to the RFU’s governance arrangements, I was also seeking to make the wider point that, whilst corporate governance is an important tool, it alone is not usually a general remedy. Good governance does not necessarily equate to good decision making, a statement of general application to professional sports clubs and governing bodies.

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