Board Meeting 165 - November 2010

Minutes of the hundred and sixty fifth meeting of the Football Licensing Authority held on 9 November 2010 in Oceanic House.

Mr P Darling – Chairman
Mr B Batson
Dr P Lane
Mr P Rowley
Ms J Summerell
Mr D Wilson
Mr J R K de Quidt     - Chief Executive

In attendance

Ms R Shaw – Chief Executive Designate
Mr K D Sears
Mr G Longhorn – for item
Mrs N Rutherford

Apologies were received from Mr R Wilkie


Minutes of the previous meeting


The minutes were agreed and signed by the Chairman.


Matters arising


No items were raised.


Chief Executive’s Report (FLA10)29 & 30)


The Chief Executive summarised the two papers.




The Board agreed that the FLA should continue to collect injury statistics.  They were useful at an aggregate level identifying long term trends.  The Board suggested that the relevant local authorities should be contacted to see if they hold the information that we are missing.




Future structure of the FLA (FLA(10)31)


Mr Rowley declared that his position as a board member with the Sports Council may constitute a conflict of interest.  The declaration was noted but the Board felt that he had an important contribution to make to the discussion. It was agreed that if the discussion moved into area where there was a possibility of a conflict of interest the Chairman would ask Mr Rowley to leave the meeting.


The Chairman opened the discussion outlining the developments over the last 2 months.  Our future remained uncertain. While it was expected that we would merge into another organisation  it was necessary to keep an open mind on all possible options. A merger could place our ethos at risk. It was therefore important that the FLA be pro-active in working to find the best fit for our organisation so the best advice can be given to Ministers at the appropriate time.

The Board endorsed the recommendations that:

  • the Chairman and / or the Chief Executive initiate discussions with the appropriate parties in the sporting world early in the New Year, as soon as it becomes clear when and how DCMS intends to amalgamate Sport England, UK Sport and possibly other bodies. 


  • our objective should be to come to an understanding about how any merger might work and how the functions and expertise of the FLA (both present and future) might best be preserved within whatever organisation we may be merged with; and
  • we remain in close dialogue with the key players in DCMS, if only to ensure that our interests are not overlooked during its forthcoming restructuring.


 It was agreed that it would be useful to have a single briefing document setting out the FLA’s position on the Public Bodies Bill.


Future role of the FLA – Sports Grounds Safety Authority Bill


The Sports Grounds Safety Authority Bill  would:

  • Reconstitute the FLA as the Sports Grounds Safety Authority;


  • Give the SGSA the power to provide advice about safety at sports grounds to any person or body in England and Wales or on request and with the consent of the Secretary of State to any international person or body; and
  • Enable the SGSA to charge, with the consent of the Secretary of State, for services provided on request within England and Wales and those provided outside England and Wales.


The Chief Executive stressed that the Bill would not extend the FLA’s regulatory role and would not extend beyond sports grounds.

In discussion the following points were raised:

  • Preparation was the key priority.


  • We should indentify where we envisaged the SGSA would be and work downwards to identify how we reached that position.
  • It was important that existing priorities were not compromised by any move into new areas of work. A structured incremental development into other sports was the favoured way forward.


  • Our work with the 2012 Olympics was providing the perfect grounding and should be built upon. 
  • The Inspectorate should retain a generalist base with each inspector leading on a particular theme.


  • Identify the skills gap and if this should be filled by further training or entering into partnerships. Consideration should be given as to how to utilize the expertise of the Board properly without over-stepping the executive/non-executive line
  • Consideration should be given to inviting an external peer review so the right skills were identified.


  • Expand international links.

The size, scope and basis of charging required further consideration.  A paper would be circulated for discussion at the January meeting.


The Chief Executive to write paper on charging for the January meeting.




Future funding of the FLA (FLA(10)33)


The Board noted the present position. It was accepted that despite a favourable outcome, the savings required for years 3 and 4 of the spending review posed potential difficulties that would require further consideration and management. A merger or devolution into the SGSA would generate different financial issues and constraints. The use of reserves would require careful consideration and consultation with DCMS Finance. 

It was suggested a business development plan would assist in planning for the future. 




All-seater requirement


The Minister for Sport, Hugh Robertson, had asked the FLA to consider  the following questions:

  • Did the FLA believe that safe standing is something that merits further consideration?


  • Do all-seater stadia help to improve crowd management and crowd behaviour?
  • Would it be useful to hold a round table meeting involving the various groups with an interest to discuss this issue?


 There was general agreement that the all seated requirement should remain on safety, public order and customer care grounds but there were unanswered questions about whether standing in seated areas presented a greater risk than standing on purpose built terrace. It was suggested that the minister should be encouraged to ask the Premier League for a copy of the research they had commissioned.

It was considered all seated stadia are more attractive to a families and a return to standing may lead to lower BME attendance at grounds. Large standing areas will be difficult to steward and would be likely to require greater policing which would be a retrograde step.

The Board acknowledged there could be benefits of bringing various groups with an interest together at a roundtable event, providing the appropriate representatives were included, and that there was a clear understanding of the available evidence. The Board agreed that should the Minister wish to hold such a roundtable meeting, the FLA would be happy to participate.

The Chief Executive would reply to the minister.




Mid-year financial statement at 30 September 2010 (FLA(10)36)


The Board accepted the statement.




Mid-year review of performance (FLA(10)35)


The Board noted the achievements completed so far and endorsed the proposed action still to be taken. The Board recognised and congratulated the organisation on its resilience to have accomplished so much in difficult circumstances and under a cloud of an uncertain future.  




Health and safety at work – annual review (FLA(10)37)


The Board agreed that the policies should remain in place and be signed by the Chief Executive.  A further report would be presented to the Board in 12 months time.


Any other business


A questionnaire on the effectiveness of the Audit Committee would be circulated to Members to complete.


Mr Rowley to circulate form.


Date of the next meeting


The likelihood of the December meeting taking place was minimal. A telephone conference would take place if urgent matters arose.  Subject to that, the next scheduled meeting would be Tuesday 11 January 201 at 10.30am in Oceanic House.



The Chairman, on behalf of the Board, formally thanked John de Quidt for his immense contribution to the work of the FLA both here and abroad.  He wished him a long and happy retirement. 


The Chief Executive in response offered his thanks and best wishes.

FLA Secretariat - November 2011