§ 2.41 p.m.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are aware that certain footballers who were convicted of illegal practices with regard to matches and who have served prison sentences for these offences, have now been barred from soccer for life by the F.A. and Football League; and whether they will intercede with these bodies to get these suspensions modified.]
§ BARONESS PHILLIPS
My Lords, the Government are aware of the facts outlined in the first part of the noble Lord's Question. There can however be no question of their seeking to intervene in the manner suggested in the second part of the Question. Disciplinary action against players who transgress 1253 the football code of conduct is a matter for the governing bodies of football. Her Majesty's Government have no standing in this matter, and it would be quite contrary to precedent for them to intervene.
§ LORD WILLIS
My Lords, while thanking my noble and charming friend for that reply, may I ask her three further questions? First, would she not agree that it is a transgression of the principles of British justice that a man should be punished twice for the same offence? Secondly, would she not further agree that, since a footballer's life is rather short, these young men should, in common with other people who have transgressed the law, be given the opportunity to rehabilitate themselves in their, profession? Thirdly, since this is World Cup Year, would it not be a good thing if in this matter the F.A. were to show some clemency and declare an amnesty, and give these young men a chance to find their way back to the profession they adorned for so long?
§ BARONESS PHILLIPS
My Lords, I am sure my noble friend will appreciate that anything that I were to say in a personal capacity, speaking from the Dispatch Box, would be valueless. If I may remind him, we have just prayed that we mightset aside all partial affections and all prejudices".I am sorry, but I cannot add any further comment to the reply I have already given on behalf of the Government.