FA chief Martin Glenn faces MPs’ questioning over Christmas parties

Image copyright AFP Image caption Football Association CEO Martin Glenn believes an independent investigation will reveal internal controls “were robust”

The Football Association faces a grilling from MPs over its handling of a scandal over players drinking and dancing at a drinks party on the eve of Christmas.

The FA privately apologised to seven England men caught up in the party before matches in 2015 and 2017.

But FA director Martin Glenn said the investigation was “absolutely robust” and any corruption claims would be “unfounded”.

Following the Guardian story, the FA set up an independent inquiry.

Simon Johnson will appear before the culture, media and sport select committee to explain why payments had been made in some cases, while an FA spokesperson told the Guardian the matter had been “completely blown out of proportion”.

Johnson was banned for 18 months in 2016 after a dossier, which contained names of players who attended the Christmas parties, was sent to the Football Association for investigation.

During his suspension Johnson was director of football development, which was eventually taken over by Gavin Maloney and moved away from football culture.

“I can’t think I would be sat here before you today if the investigation wasn’t robust,” Glenn told BBC Sport.

“I wouldn’t want to be involved in something like this and I don’t think anyone else involved.

“That doesn’t mean the investigation was unjust but it has been misunderstood or blown out of proportion.”

The subcommittee, which will be chaired by Rachel Reeves, will be chaired by Rachel Reeves and feature the likes of Tom Watson, Karen Bradley, Richard Benyon and Kevin Brennan.

How will the select committee get hold of the independent report?

The Football Association was waiting on the parliamentary select committee to subpoena the independent investigation. But that could now be delayed by MPs wanting to look at the report themselves.

Nick Bromley, director of culture, media and sport at the FA, told BBC Sport it would be important to use the launch of the committee’s report to include the report.

However, to do so it will have to ‘confirm through some legal means’ that the committee does not have the power to get it, and that would be costly to the FA.

“It was the intention of the inquiry that it would remain published,” Bromley added.

“That has not happened. Once it is published it can’t be reviewed until afterwards by us or anybody else.”

The report could be eventually made public. Bromley said: “We’re ready to publish but it has to be in the right timeframe. There’s a delay for legal reasons. The report will come out no matter what happens. We will just need to find the appropriate time to release it.”

Are there any lessons to be learned?

Glenn feels the embarrassment surrounding the scandals does not affect his or the wider FA’s standing.

“The strength of our relationship with Fifa and Uefa has grown over the years so we still have good relations and a very high level of trust with international governing bodies,” he added.

“We have issues of trust within our own house. We’re going to learn some lessons.”

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