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New culture secretary, but threats to FA funding continue if body fails to reform

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Karen Bradley, secretary of state for Culture, Media and Sport, has echoed her predecessor and warned the football Association (FA) that it will lose government funding it it fails to reform.

During her first Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee hearing since her appointment in July, the Staffordshire Moorlands MP said the DCMS has been “on the record” that the football governing body would lose money if it did not diversify its board and improve its governance.

She said the FA was “well aware of the concerns” held by the government and that she expected the organisation to “improve its arrangements”.

Earlier this year, the former culture secretary John Whittingdale said he was “disappointed” that the FA had “rejected the opportunity to reform their outdated and unrepresentative governance model”.

He also threatened to withdraw the taxpayer and National Lottery support it enjoys – which accounts for around £30m over the 2013-17 four-year cycle.

The FA Council has been criticised for its perceived lack of transparency and diversity, while Heather Rabbatts is the only individual who is not male and white on the FA board.

Sports minister Tracey Crouch said that if circumstances didn’t change she would take the money provided to the FA from the government and distribute it elsewhere. Bradley confirmed that the threat still stood.

Bradley was also questioned about the timing of the publication of the UK Sports Governance Code, which will lay out standards for all sports bodies in Britain, including the gender and ethnic make-up of boards.

She revealed that one of the points in the document was the proposal to take the number of people on boards down to 12, but would not be drawn on when the code would be published. However, Bradley did hint that it would be before Christmas.

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Karen Bradley, secretary of state for Culture, Media and Sport, has echoed her predecessor and warned the Football Association (FA) that it will lose government funding it it fails to reform.
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