27. Mr. Ashton asked
the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make a statement on the official discussions he had with the Professional Footballers Association and their employers' representatives concerning their conditions of employment.
§ Mr. Eldon Griffiths
I discussed the possibility of appeals by professional players against sentences passed on them for offences on the field of play. These talks were against the background of the Industrial Relations Act and the draft Code of Industrial Practice. Whilst I am naturally very interested in this matter, the primary responsibility of course lies with the Football Association which, I understand, is giving consideration to the problem.
§ Mr. Ashton
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that he had that discussion in September and that nothing has happened since? This is a highly controversial major sporting issue of the day about which the football public are totally dissatisfied. Will the Minister say to these Victorian employers that they must introduce a system of fair play and justice for their employees?
§ Mr. Griffiths
I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman wants compulsory intervention by the Government into the affairs of two highly responsible sports organisations which, in my judgment, are capable of managing their own affairs.
§ Mr. Dalyell
It is not compulsory intervention that is the issue but that justice is done in this case.