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What practical steps can I take to comply with my duties as a director of a football club?

A director of a football club must comply with a number of duties and obligations to ensure that the club’s position is safeguarded and protected.

 

A director could take the following steps in an attempt to mitigate against the risk of breaching those duties:

  • Ensure that s/he is aware of any constraints on the powers of the club or its directors (to ensure that s/he does do not act outside of those powers)
  • Hold regular board meetings, with pre-determined agendas so that all directors are properly informed of the club’s affairs
  • Ensure complete and accurate minutes are taken of every board meeting to evidence how decisions have been reached and when they were made
  • Prepare an annual budget to include key budgeted expenditure (e.g. for player transfers and salaries), as well as any significant liabilities
  • Ensure that the club’s accounts are kept up to date and include appropriate and required information. This information could be shared as a management tool at board meetings to better inform the directors when making decisions on how to drive the club forward or when making difficult decisions
  • Ensure financial records are kept in accordance with Rule 10, I1.1 – I1.8 of The FA Handbook (2021/2022 edition at the time of writing), including documenting all loans and gate receipts
  • Put in place agreed levels of authority for expenditure and committing to liabilities, and appropriate bank mandates and signatories
  • Where the club is struggling to pay its debts or appears that it may soon be in a position where it may be unable to pay its debts, seek proper advice from specialist lawyers, accountants or insolvency specialists
  • Ensure appropriate insurance is in place for both on-field and off-field liability
  • Have regard to the Football Debt Recovery Regulations (p.465 of the FA Handbook)
  • Have regard to the rules set out in The FA Handbook (2021/2022 edition at the time of writing)
  • Have regard to whether any change in his/her own circumstances could mean that s/he no longer meets the ‘fit and proper persons test’ set out by the Premier League or the English Football League (as appropriate)
  • Ensure that any interest in any proposed transactions or arrangement is properly declared

Every director must consider their duties and obligations in the circumstances that are specific to themselves and their club.

The above list is not exhaustive and professional advice should be sought where you believe you may fall foul of your duties and obligations. Contact us with confidence on 020 7315 4804 or at sportslaw@saunders.co.uk.

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