How the Football Association's vote of no confidence by UK parliament arose
The Football Association (FA) is facing stern pressure to reform after a motion of no confidence was passed by members of parliament (MPs) in the House of Commons on Thursday following a debate on how the organisation is run.
English football's governing body was warned that unless it becomes more transparent and diverse, legislation will be introduced to modernise.
Here, ESPN FC takes a look at the background to the vote and what the future holds for the FA.
How did parliament's motion of no confidence and the debate arise?
It was brought before the House of Commons by Damian Collins -- MP and chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, which has been calling for reform of the FA. Made up of 11 MPs from all political parties, the committee oversees sport. In 2011 and 2013, it published two reports demanding changes to the way English football's governing body is organised and insisting that the FA has ignored its recommendations.
Matters came to a head last year following publication of new government guidelines on sports governance, which threatened to withdraw public money from sports bodies like the FA unless they made changes. Then, last December, five former FA chief executives criticised its structure, declaring that a group of "elderly white men" are holding it back.
Collins and other members of his committee insist that the FA is unwilling to reform voluntarily and that the only way this can happen is through legislation.
What were the key points of the debate and who said them?
The debate may have been specifically about reform of the FA, but the English professional game as a whole received something of a kicking, from the financial muscle of the Premier League to foreign owners, agents and the salaries of top players. While there was some defence of the FA's work at the grassroots level and with the development of women's football, the consensus was that one way or another, the organisation has to reform.
"This is an issue that we have been talking about for a long time," Collins said. "It's the right of the national parliament of this country to take action on the administration of the national game."
Another key point to emerge from the debate was the lack of diversity within the FA. MPs heard that the 122-member FA Council, a key decision-making body, has only eight women and four members from minority backgrounds, while 92 are aged over 60 and 12 over 80. The 12-member FA board has just one female representative and MPs called for more independent members with expertise in areas such as business and finance.
What was the conclusion of the debate?
The motion of no confidence was largely a symbolic one, providing MPs with a chance to exert more pressure on the FA as it draws up the reforms it has promised to implement. The MPs agreed that they would wait to see what English football's governing body comes up with and if they are not satisfied, they will impose new legislation.
Collins said: "The FA, to use a football analogy, are not only in extra time, they are at the end of extra time, in Fergie time. They are 1-0 down and if they don't pick up fairly quickly, reform will be delivered to them."
The debate was best summed up by sports minister Tracey Crouch, who told the FA: "The current model does not stand up to scrutiny. No change is no option."
What reforms are being demanded?
The reforms are based on the government's new sports governance code and include: 30 percent gender diversity on the FA's boards, greater representation of fans and ethnic minority groups, term limits for office holders and greater financial transparency and accountability.
There are also calls for a streamlining of the way the FA votes on important matters so that it is able to respond quickly to issues like last year's damaging sex-abuse scandal of youth team players.
What happens now?
The FA is due to present its reform plans to Crouch in April. Chairman Greg Clarke has threatened to resign if Crouch does not support them, which could lead to a loss of £30 million of public money that the organisation receives for grassroots funding.
Clarke insists the FA has accepted that it needs to change and be more diverse, but the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee remains unconvinced. It is currently preparing a draft bill which, if passed by MPs, would force change on the FA to ensure that it is run in accordance with the government's new guidelines for sports bodies. The spectre of legislation looms large.
What are the possible ramifications with regards to FIFA?
World football's governing body has strict rules in place for what it refers to as "political interference" in how national associations are run. In 2015, it banned Indonesian teams from international competitions following claims of government interference in the administration of the local governing body. This was lifted last year. Kuwait has been banned from world football since Oct. 2015 over controversial domestic sports laws.
However, FIFA generally acts when governments try to influence office holders in national associations or get involved in their running. The English FA could rightfully argue that its government is not dictating who specifically should sit on its committees or how they work and that it has a duty to adhere to national laws.
Vivek Chaudhary covers FIFA and the financial side of the game for ESPN FC. Twitter: @viveksport