Examination of Witnesses (Questions 1820
TUESDAY 17 JANUARY 2006
Mr Brian Barwick and Mr Simon Johnson
What is the total number for the FA?
Mr Johnson: The FA's income is made up of various
sources. The largest section is television but there is also income
that we receive from sponsorship, gate receipts and other grants.
In our last published accounts, our total income was over £206
million from all the sources of revenue that we have. That is
distributed in ways that you may have an interest in later on.
The bulk of that comes from television rights?
Mr Johnson: It is the largest section of our
The other thing I would like to be clear about in your evidence
is this. The clubs obviously benefit from this income, including
the television rights. How does that work?
Mr Johnson: Would it be helpful if I just explained
broadly what the FA does with its income? From that £206
million that we earn, we firstly deduct the cost of actually selling
the rights, administering the contracts that we have. There is
then a deduction made for the operating expenses of the Association;
that is the operation at Soho Square and running the game and
our various operations. There is then an element for the cost
of specific programmes that we run. There will be some small-sided
football programmes, for example, our medical work and our drug
testing. Those are just some examples. The rest of that is then
distributed by the Football Association pretty much on a 50-50
basis between what we call the national gamethat is the
amateur, grassroots gameand the professional game. When
we say, as I think we did say in our letter, that the FA's revenues
are used for the development of the game, that is absolutely true.
Really the very largest part of our income is redistributed through
the game and it is fairly equally split between entitlement for
the clubs in the professional game and then also counties, grassroots
football, the development of football at that level.
Mr Barwick: It is interesting to make the point
that we are an association that reflects the interests of 37,000
clubs. That is the scale of the game: over 1 million players,
400,000 volunteers. Recent research suggests that up to 12 million
people have been involved in football in some way, shape or form
this year. We do have a responsibility across the spectrum of
the game. We take that very seriously.
When there is some talk, as by the European Commission, about
Premier League being a football monopoly, that hardly seems to
be the case on the basis of our evidence.
Mr Johnson: I am sure you will want to talk
about the European Commission.
Mr Barwick: I do not think we would ever agree
that the Premier League is a monopoly. If you simply look at the
amount of football that is played, the amount of football that
is shown on television, you have: Premier League; Football League;
within what we are able to sell, you have FA Cup matches and England
internationals; there are international competitions, the UEFA
Cup and UEFA Champions League; and then you have the World Cups
and European Championships. We have always argued that there is
plenty of football around for the broadcasting market.
Mr Barwick: I became involved in television
in 1979 and I have worked, as you have suggested, 25 years in
television, including eight years as the Editor of Match of
the Day and ultimately I was Head of Sport at the BBC before
moving across to ITV as their Controller of Sport. The one thing
that I saw in that 25 years was just the great range, depth and
diversity of the amount of football that was available to be broadcast
or available to be bought for broadcast. With the explosion of
channels, there was enough football to handle that. That is the
case today. There is a lot of product.
Q1825 Lord Peston:
I was a bit puzzled by Mr Johnson's point about monopoly. You
are aware of the competition legislation that pertains in this
country. Monopoly in practice is defined in hours, controlling
about a quarter of the market. You are not for one moment suggesting
that Premier League has a share as low as that, are you, of the
saleable market? By any standards that I am asking you as an economist,
Premier League is about the most powerful monopoly of any product
I know in this country. I am rather surprised. As someone who
used to kick a ball around on Hackney Marshes between two coats,
I appreciate there is a hell of a lot of football played by a
lot of us and we get told off by our mothers when we come home
covered in pure mud. That is not what we are talking about today,
much as one wants to see it fostered.
Mr Barwick: That is very critical to our aspirations.
Mr Johnson: To be fair, I think the European
Commission's case was actually about the principle of collective
selling, the decision taken by the clubs banding together to sell
their rights, rather than whether they were a monopoly or not.
I was not involved in the case. Obviously I am aware of the collective
selling aspect of it. That was their main area of interest. We
have a common interest in that because, of course, we have an
element of collective selling of our rights. I did not mean to
mislead on that. The Chairman had referred to the word "monopoly"
and I think I made the link with the case.
Q1826 Lord Maxton:
Can I get one or two things clear? You are the controlling body
which lays down basically football in Englandand Wales?
Mr Johnson: In England.
Q1827 Lord Maxton:
Quite rightly, you have said that one of your aims is to ensure
through broadcasting that that game is encouraged. You spend some
of the income on the grassroots, I think 50 per cent of it, of
the game, quite rightly. I think everybody would be delighted
about that. The fact is that 73 per cent of the live football
matches shown on television in this country are not under your
control. Do you have any say at all in the sale of Premier League
Mr Johnson: We do not.
Q1828 Lord Maxton:
Mr Johnson: No, because that is a league that
affiliates to the Football Association, so they have to be part
of the rules of the game, the regulations of the game, but they
are free to deal with their own commercial rights exactly as they
choose. That is the same with the Football League, the Football
Conference and any organisation. Because the Premier League is
the biggest of the leagues, a successful league, they obviously
deal with their rights in their own way. To a certain extent,
I think the FA is proud of the development of the Premier League
because the amount of income that it has generated for the game
of football, the way that the league has become a league of such
interest and such excitement, I think reflects well on English
football. Clearly, there is an element of what the Premier League
earns from the distribution of their income that is redistributed
into good causes and, through the game, through the Football Foundation.
That is something that we support, but we do not have a role;
we cannot direct, nor would be choose to, how they would deal
Q1829 Lord Maxton:
Take it that you give 50 per cent of your income after your costs,
so to speak. In the Football League, the Premier League is not
giving anything like 50 per cent for the grassroots of the game,
Mr Johnson: No, they are not, but we do have
Mr Barwick: We are a non-profit making organisation.
It might be worth spending a minute or so on this. We are the
governing body of the game in England. We are responsible for
regulation, governance, promotion and administration of the game.
In the context of this inquiry, we use the FA as a key asset to
generate funds for distribution throughout the game. We organise
senior men's, youth and women's national competitions and a number
of representative England teams at all ages and for all abilities.
We have 16 teams. Everybody talks about England but there are
16 teams that leave our door. Our main commercial assets are,
of course, the FA Challenge Cup and the England Men's Senior Team.
We are able to generate income from the rights to those events.
We are a non-profit organisation and so broadcasting sponsorship
primarily has the right to exploit those assets and that is the
way we generate revenue to develop the game at all levels and
improve standards. We are a different organisation with different
aspirations dealing with the same handbook.
Mr Johnson: Chairman, I am aware that you took
evidence from Richard Scudamore of the Premier League and I know
you pressed him on what their objectives were. I wondered if this
would be helpful to the committee. When we put our rights out
to tender a couple of years ago, we published to those bidding
broadly what our objectives were at that time, which are broadly
similar to what they are now. With your permission, might I read
those to the Committee? It might be helpful to this element of
How long are they?
Mr Johnson: There are six of them. The first
is to maximise revenues for the benefit of the game as a whole.
Number two is to increase active participation in all forms and
at all levels. Number three is to extend the appeal and influence
of English football to both the domestic and a global audience.
Number four is to raise the level of exposure of the FA's events.
Number five is to reinforce the values of the FA's brandsthe
word they used at the time. Number six is to provide support and
exposure for our commercial partners. I know you pressed Mr Scudamore,
quite rightly. I thought it would be helpful to know broadly what
our objectives were.
Q1831 Lord Maxton:
Would it be better if, in fact, more of the money of that 73 per
cent of the total incomeor is it 73 per cent from broadcasting
goes to Premier Leaguewas going down to the grassroots
of the game and therefore maybe it would be better on the BBC?
Mr Johnson: We can speak to this Committee about
the FA and the way we spend our money.
I think you have enough issues with the question.
Mr Barwick: We like to think we have to deal
today with the FA's situation.
Q1833 Lord Peston:
Your aims obviously, as someone who is keen on football, are tremendously
sympathetic to me but you kept using the words "English football".
It is very rare that in the team I support there is an English
player on the field. If you look at the Premier League, with an
average of 30 men in a squad, 20 to 10, there are only 600 people,
and at a rough guess half of those are English, maybe fewer. I
try to count them up when I am looking at the Sunday results.
It is that order of magnitude. Is there not a serious question
for you as the governing body anxious to promote English football
that you do not seem to have any way, as it were, to encourage
the use of English players?
Mr Barwick: I think it is an interesting point.
Let me answer it in two or three ways. Firstly, I am intensely
proud of the Premier League as a competition. I was the Editor
of Match of the Day on the very first Saturday it started.
It was an exciting competition on that day and remains an exciting
competition. One of the reasons it is an exciting competition
is because of the quality of the players that the product has
brought to the game. I don't know which team you follow. If you
tell me, I will tell you your best player. Two of the things that
follow are, I think: one, we have an English national team which
is possibly as strong as any in my lifetime, and I think that
is because they are playing with good players all the time; and,
beyond that, there is an academy system now behind the game which
is trying to bring in the next generation. Of course, as the Football
Association, we have to be concerned with the next generation
that is coming through, of course we do, and we are. It is an
Q1834 Lord Maxton:
One week's salary for some of the players playing in your team
would meet the expenditure of a top level amateur team for a whole
season. Amateur teams would roll over to get £100,000 on
an annual basis. That is the sort of money that is going to foreign
footballers. Would it not be better spent in the game?
Mr Barwick: I think Mr Johnson will deal with
Mr Johnson: I wonder whether we are slightly
straying away from the BBC when we talk about players' salaries.
Chairman: If we are not careful, we will get
on to the future of the English football manager any moment. Let
us move on to Lady Bonham-Carter.
Q1835 Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury:
Curiously, in your letter you talked about the CCPR Voluntary
Code and said that this guarantees that at least 5 per centonly
5 per centof all TV revenue is reinvested in the sport.
Mr Johnson: I put that in just to help the Committee.
That is a voluntary code that members of the CCPR sign up to.
Of course, ours is entirely different; considerably more than
50 per cent of our revenue is distributed. When the members of
the code first signed up to that a number of years ago, I think
all the members of the CCPR at that time agreed that whatever
they do, they will always make sure that 5 per cent of their income
will be used in that way.
Q1836 Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury:
This is the broadcasting income?
Mr Johnson: Yes.
Q1837 Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury:
What happens to the broadcasting income that is not reinvested
in the sport?
Mr Johnson: It is up to the sport to deal with
Q1838 Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury:
In your case?
Mr Johnson: In our case, as I explained earlier,
from our income we take out the costs of servicing the income,
the costs of running the organisation, and then we distribute
it throughout the game. The largest part of what we generate is
reinvested back into the game of football.
Q1839 Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury:
Do you believe that it is important, indeed necessary, for the
BBC to retain its position as the dominant broadcaster of the
Mr Barwick: It is interesting that the BBC's
re-involvement in the FA Cup has coincided with the elevation
of the competition again. The FA Cup has had to fight for its
place in the modern football calendar. There are some really seriously
strong football products, if you can use that word, out there
now, and the FA Cup has been a wonderful competition. It is recognised
throughout the world as the finest domestic cup competition in
football, but it has had to punch its weight. One of the ways
it has punched its weight I think is to have a relationship with
the BBC, and indeed in our current programme arrangement with
Sky where they have given the competition a real boost, both in
match coverage but also in promotion around the matches. The very
fact that the BBC has a number of television channels, a number
of radio channels and a sophisticated website operation means
that when they tend to get behind somethingStrictly
Come Dancing for exampleyou know it is on the BBC.
I sense that this has happened with the FA Cup. I have to say
that the FA Cup has rewarded both broadcasters richly with some
remarkable games, even in the last three weeks.