FA faces investigation over income from charity showcase match

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The Independent Football

Football's grand opening to the 2001/2 season, the Charity Shield match, is at the centre of a row over an alleged breach of charity laws.

The Football Association is being investigated by the Charity Commission, which claims that for the second year running the FA has failed to make clear on tickets how much of the take at the gate will go to charitable causes.

Simon Gillespie, director of operations at the commission, said: "We have opened a formal inquiry into the FA as we take this matter very seriously. We contacted the FA last year and got a firm commitment from them that they would meet their legal obligations for this year's match. But it doesn't appear that they have been met."

Hours before the kick-off between Manchester United and Liverpool in the traditional showpiece fixture between last season's Premier League champions and FA Cup winners, the FA was forced to deny allegations that they kept some of the money generated by the tie for themselves rather than distributing it to charities. But a spokesman admitted that there had been difficulties in passing information on to fans about where their ticket money goes.

Adrian Bevington said yesterday: "We deny and refute completely the allegations made in reports today regarding suggested ticketing arrangement problems with the Charity Shield. This is highly inaccurate, as are the figures that refer to the amount of money the FA takes from the game. We are a non-profit-making organisation and all non costs generated from this fixture are donated to charity."

The match generates more than £1.5m from ticket sales. The two clubs in the match can expect about £50,000 each to donate to charities of their choice, while a further £100,000 is set aside for projects earmarked for help by the Chairman's Fund.

The rest is given to over 100 community causes, each of them receiving about £7,500.