Premier League chairman's role under fresh scrutiny

Potential conflict of interest over Richards son's firm producing merchandise for 2018 bid

The position of Premier League chairman Sir Dave Richards has come under renewed scrutiny with the revelation that a company run by his son secured commercial deals to provide merchandise both to the Premier League and to help promote England’s 2018 World Cup bid.

The marketing firm Glue Creative Production Solutions, based in Sir Dave’s home town of Sheffield, insist he had nothing to do with either deal but a potential conflict of interest is being taken so seriously that the issue could be raised at this week’s latest hearing into football governance.

According to Glue’s website, both the Premier League and Football League are clients of the company, whose co-partner is Sir Dave’s son, also called Dave. The company, which supplies a raft of branded gifts, openly promotes its business with the football world though there is no mention of Sir Dave who was a director for roughly a decade before leaving on Dec 31 last year.

Glue proudly claims it was asked by the England 2018 bid team “to produce a range of promotional merchandise to be given away at various events in the UK and also during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The items were to be given to children, adults and also VIPs.”

"Adults received pin badges, pens and leather hand tied coasters, with the VIPs receiving premium pens and hand-made Italian calf leather moleskine notebooks packaged in exclusive branded wrapping.”

Sir Dave was a board member of England 2018 until stepping down in November, 2009, the official line being he could help the international side of the campaign more effectively by working independently.

Intriguingly, another of Glue’s clients is the national league of Thailand for whom they were asked to create a new trophy. The head of the Thai FA is none other than Worawi Makudi, a FIFA executive committee member whose vote England 2018 coveted during their ulimately doomed campaign.

Richards’ son, also called Dave, insisted his conscience was totally clear and that there were no vested interests. “We supply gifts to a whole raft of people, it’s our bread and butter,” he told the website Insideworldfootball.biz. “Sport represents an insignificant amount of our turnover. My dad hasn’t been a director since December of last year and isn’t a shareholder. He has no influence over the business and no active role within the business.”

He said it was totally wrong to infer that the company, whose turnover is understood to be around £600,000, had made money on the back of his father’s position. “Do I see a conflict of interest? No. Neither myself nor my business partner think we have done anything wrong.”

While the FA wouldn’t comment on their involvement with Glue, it is understood that those connected with England’s 2018 bid knew full well that Glue was run by Sir Dave’s son and could pose a potential embarrassment if it became common knowledge at the time.

The Premier League, meanwhile, stressed it had no ongoing contract in place with Glue but did admit it had had dealings with them, insisting however that all tenders follow the same process, with suppliers selected on the basis of cost and value. “They have in the past provided us with an ad-hoc service for small-scale orders of Premier League branded corporate gifts as many other small suppliers have,” a statement said.

Glue has also done business with the Swiss-based European Association of European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL), of which Sir Dave, who was unavailable for comment last night, also happens to be chairman. The EPFL said in a statement yesterday that Richards had never taken part in any decisions related to Glue and had no concerns about any potential conflict of interest.

Asked how Glue came about providing material for 2018, Richards Jr. said the work was commissioned by the London-based communications and marketing agency Unspun, co-founded by Sara Donaldson who has worked as a consultant on a number of high-profile campaigns, including London's successful bid for the 2012 Olympic Games. “That’s who we were given the work by,” said Richards. “They were the ones who specifically placed the work with Glue.”

When contacted, Unspun declined all comment. Although there is no firm evidence to suggest Sir Dave or Unspun influenced the choice of Glue to provide the merchandise involved because it was run by a member of Sir Dave's family, Damian Collins, who sits on the culture, media and sport committee which is carrying out the inquiry into football governance, said he would raise the issue this week.

"If football organisations he [Richards] is a part of were doing business with a company he had interests in, that does raise serious questions,” Collins told the Yorkshire Post newspaper which first uncovered the story. "It is about the general issue of transparency in football. If Dave Richards had commercial interests that does raise questions about how transparent those interests were."

Fellow committee member Therese Coffey added: "If there are vested interests at play we need to help bring some sunshine into that and that is part of the role of the inquiry."

Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup