MP Calls For Fair Play Off The Pitch

Statement by David Rutley, MP for Macclesfield, following the vote to conclude the EFL League Two season:

"Following the decision made by the clubs and the EFL on Tuesday to bring the League Two season to an end, it is vital that the spirit of fair play and sporting integrity is respected off the pitch, just as it is expected on the pitch, particularly in such challenging circumstances.

Given the well documented challenges off the pitch at Macclesfield Town Football Club, it is right that points have been deducted during the course of the season.

Eleven points have already been subtracted, with a further two suspended. The points per game calculation that has been adopted further compounds the effect of the points already deducted. This has meant that the Club have been served with an additional 2.6 point deduction, solely down to the methodology employed and not as a result of any further charges which have been levied against them.

Putting this in perspective, it is worth bearing in mind that there is a twelve point maximum penalty for a club going into administration. So, I would strongly urge the EFL and the Independent Inquiry to be proportionate and fair-minded when considering any further action in relation to Macclesfield Town.

They will understandably, and rightly, ask whether lessons have been learned from this season at the Club and whether the situation will remain the same next season. The clear answer is that things must, and will, change.

Over the last 6 months, I have worked behind the scenes with key stakeholders, interested parties, the owner, the Silkmen Supporters Trust and relevant authorities to help in seeking to find a more sustainable future that the Club deserves. It is clear that it is time for a fresh start whatever the outcome of the Inquiry. There must be a new approach to governance at the Club with a new independent and experienced Chairman being put in place. In addition, there needs to be an active Board with relevant and complementary skills that can drive the Club forward, control finances, hold the Executive team to account and effectively engage with supporters and the community. Finally, the owner will need to take a back seat and be a silent shareholder at the Club.

I understand that there are plans for each of these elements to be put in place. The EFL and the Inquiry will no doubt want to ask questions and gain the satisfaction that they need that this is the case and to seek the necessary assurances.

However, in all of this we should not forget the players who have done the Club proud on the pitch and the off-field staff who have given their all, particularly in the face of all the challenges of this season. Over recent decades, the Silkmen have more than punched above their weight - that highlights the spirit of our community and embodies the magic of football. It is what keeps our loyal supporters coming to the Club through thick and thin. They deserve the chance to see League Two football being played at Moss Rose again next season.

Macclesfield Town has rightly paid the price for the errors which have been made this season off the pitch. Having further points deducted should not be the answer. It is time to walk back from the cliff edge, and for cool heads and warm hearts, and the spirit of fair play, to prevail."