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MPs to investigate football debt

MPs are investigate whether there is too much debt at professional clubs as part of a new inquiry into the running of football.

The inquiry by the Culture, Media and Sport select committee will also look into whether there is any need for the Government to intervene in the running of the game, it was announced today.

The inquiry is "responding not only to the high-profile coverage of Liverpool and Manchester United, but also to broader concerns that current and future generations of football supporters of clubs across the country are ill-served by current football club regulations," the committee stated today.

Other issues to be looked at by the inquiry are:

:: Should clubs be treated differently from other commercial organisations?

:: Is the FA - and their football governance rules - fit for purpose?

:: The pros and cons of the supporters holding shares in clubs.

:: Is Government intervention justified and, if so, what form should it take?

:: Are there lessons to be learned from other sports and other countries?

Committee chairman John Whittingdale said: "The Government has said that it will encourage the reform of football governance rules to support the co-operative ownership of football clubs by supporters, and there is widespread concern that the current governance arrangements are not fit for purpose.

"Our inquiry will look at the case for strategic Government intervention and improved self-regulation and will consider models which involve supporters more in how clubs are run.

"We are keen to hear from a wide range of interested parties, including fans, as well as the clubs themselves and their own regulatory bodies."

The Premier League welcomed the announcement, saying: "The Premier League has always recognised the importance of engaging in these types of inquiries.

"It is a welcome opportunity to highlight the numerous governance developments in our rule book over recent years, as well as enabling us to frame the challenges facing the game and how we might appropriately regulate them going forward."