As mentioned before, my website and any articles by me or others on football platforms are on the back burner whilst I try my best to support Football Index users get redress (sincere apologies to L2k whose Sorare article I have postponed time and time again- thanks for your patience!). We all have decisions to make, some have decided to move on swiftly and carry on elsewhere, others are really fighting for the community and that takes up a lot of energy and time.
For anyone reading this unaware of the scandal involved here is a brief and simplistic summary and some press coverage; The Athletic, The Guardian 1 and The Guardian 2. It is of course a lot deeper than I can relay here and it is frustrating that we can't share all of our concerns and evidence over what happened yet. However, it is clear to us all that anyone that does see all the facts in black and white should conclude that victims need compensating due to regulatory failure and the Football Index directors need to be taken to court. It is a two pronged case of action. The possible fraudulent acts by directors is separate to our concerns over both the Gambling Commission and The FCA's involvement. It is the latter where MPs should be helping us.
For an insight of being in FI Action, I can tell you some very intelligent people (not talking about myself!) are working extremely hard on the mission of redress for all. Every day since the scandal exploded, there has been ongoing, determined deep discussion and planning. There has been an incredible amount of voluntary hours put in by not only FI Action but Matt Zarb-Cousin (director of Clean Up Gambling) and Leigh Day Law (our legal team for a group claim). It has really opened my eyes to the amount of effort it takes to get justice done in this country. The amount of effort it takes to get those in roles paid for by us to do their job properly. You'd think a scandal like this would be a routine matter. It is not. We are up against many complex hurdles. We are in a thick broth of 'pass the buck' stew with some politicians simmering alongside gambling entities, regulators trying to get out the pan and plenty of large dollops of business and legal jargon!
I write this article today to ensure that we at FI Action are getting the importance across of all Football Index victims writing to their MPs for support towards redress regardless of how much they individually had stolen. It really is strength in numbers time. There are always issues around the nation where different groups are vying for MP awareness and support. We need the Football Index scandal to be on the minds of all of our MPs.
We have had a Podcast - please listen:
FIG hosted A.S.P. and Matt Zarb-Cousin who all put out an excellent update and a call to action. There have also been lots of tweets and other social media messages and now this article to show how easy and VITAL it is that we get as many letters to MPs as possible.
How can you help?
It can not be easier. Go to: cleanupgambling.com
There is a letter written for you- it is extremely powerful so does not need you to write anything (but you can add personal bits if you wish)
Fill in the form and it does all the hard bits for you
If your postcode doesn't work, try a nearby one
If you still have issues sending, copy and paste the information and look up your MP online- they will have an email to send it to
If you do not get a reply, it is worth sending a personal chase up email- see my example below
See these rules my MP had for getting a response from him - note the group campaign mention and the personal details needed, again send a chase up email with all of that included
Another postcode tip:
Be positive and act now. Get it done for you. Get it done for others!
Why are we asking MPs to help?
MPs can raise issues affecting their constituents and attend debates. They can put forward questions to a government minister on our behalf (in our case we are dealing with Chris Philp). They can support and highlight particular campaigns which their constituency feel strongly about. You might be invited to speak to them. MPs hold 'surgery' in their office, where you can go to discuss any matters. This is a way of giving MPs further insight and context into issues for them to discuss when they go to Westminster. If you receive an invite, we have material available to help you prep for it if needed. We want the Football Index scandal to be the hot topic in the corridors and offices of the Houses of Parliament.
We feel if we can gain support from MPs, FI Action will be able to meet with Chris Philp MP who is now the minister for gambling. We want to be able to explain the situation from our point of view and with the evidence we have collected. So far, a lot of what MPs and other externals have heard has been allowed to go unchallenged. So we are fighting to get through to MPs and get a chance to tell them more than they are being told by the Gambling Commission, the Malcolm Sheehan QC report, Football Index, The FCA and Philp.
But Philp says the government wont compensate?
So far Chris Philp's response is:
To me, and others in FI Action, this looks like he has not read up about the Football Index scandal at all. To talk about reimbursement from the administration and use the phrase ''gambling firm ceasing to operate'' shows an utter lack of awareness and knowledge. I have been told Leigh Day Law are asking to speak to Philp as they are concerned by his answers to MP questions so far. Again, if MPs are fed the above from Philp, we need to make them aware of the bigger picture and that it is far from just a case of a bookie going bust and administration will provide next to nothing (it has not been a simple administration at all due to Football Index related entities causing problems!) - see points made in the FI Action response to MPs template google doc.
All we ask is MPs take a serious look. We have done so much leg work for external eyes. It will take time to read, but it is all there and we are always willing to speak on the matter to clarify anything.
Here is where we are currently at with MP responses:
This log is based on what has been reported back to me on this Twitter thread and by DMs at the time of writing. If incorrect, please get in touch. If I have missed some feedback, or if you receive responses after this goes out, I will endeavor to update it in future.
Lots of us will be writing to the same MP so the number of responses is not a direct relation to number of letters sent by FI victims.
Reported as very supportive responses:
Those that seem to have taken the time to fully understand the issue and will support our calls for redress. Also those MPs actively looking to meet and speak further with their affected constituents:
Ronnie Cowan MP:
Mary Kelly Foy MP:
Ben Lake MP:
Tim Farron MP:
Side note - I have actually met Tim Farron before. I was managing a University football team in Cumbria and we needed a better training pitch as ours was always water logged. It was only mentioned in a brief chat on a campus tour he was doing, nothing formal. But just a couple of days later I received a letter saying he had arranged permissions for us to use a new one for free. There are plenty of good MPs out there!
Ronnie Cowan is the Member of Parliament for Inverclyde having first been elected in 2015. Scottish National Party
Stephen William Hammond is a British Conservative Party politician who has served as the Member of Parliament for Wimbledon since 2005
Claire Aisling Hanna is an Irish Social Democratic and Labour Party politician from Northern Ireland
Bellavia Janet Ribeiro-Addy is a British Labour Party politician who has served as the Member of Parliament for Streatham since the 2019 general election
Ofunne Kate Osamor is a British Labour Co-operative politician who has served as Member of Parliament for Edmonton since 2015
Michael Lee Amesbury is a British Labour Party politician serving as the Member of Parliament for Weaver Vale since 2017, and the Shadow Minister for Housing since 2020
Matthew Thomas Pennycook is a British Labour Party politician. He has been the Member of Parliament for Greenwich and Woolwich since May 2015
Ben Morgan Lake is a Plaid Cymru politician and a member of the UK Parliament for the Ceredigion constituency.
Timothy James Farron is a British politician who was Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 2015 to 2017. He has been Member of Parliament for Westmorland and Lonsdale since 2005, prior to entering parliament Farron worked in Higher Education
Sarah Jane Olney is a British Liberal Democrat politician and former accountant who has served as Member of Parliament for Richmond Park since 2019, and previously from 2016 to 2017
Mary Kelly Foy is a British Labour Party politician. She was first elected as the Member of Parliament for the City of Durham in the 2019 general election.
Taiwo Owatemi is a British politician who has been Member of Parliament for Coventry North West since 2019. Labour
Reported as responded:
Those that have given more than just the copy and paste job
Mary Louise McDonald is an Irish Sinn Féin politician who has served as Leader of the Opposition in Ireland since June 2020 and President of Sinn Féin since February 2018
Royston Matthew Smith, GM MP is a British Conservative Party politician and has served as Member of Parliament for Southampton Itchen since the 2015 general election.
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Nicholas Desmond John Smith is a Welsh Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Blaenau Gwent since the May 2010 election.
Caroline Fiona Ellen Nokes is a British Conservative Party politician. She was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Romsey and Southampton North in Hampshire in the 2010 general election
Julie Elliott is a British Labour Party politician, who was first elected Member of Parliament for Sunderland Central in 2010
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NB- He initially sent on the previous copy and paste jobby (2 months old)- not even the updated copy and paste version...
However, he has since replied to a chase up email (by someone that used the FI Action Google Doc to help) and explained it was an error and apologised. He is offering a meeting to those in Carshalton and Wallington:
Reported as responded BUT:
But clearly haven't read the information / just sent a copy & paste job / doesn't seem interested in supporting.
Example of Conservative generic response:
Example of MP not reading the emails properly or following the case despite 'continuing to closely monitor developments'. This MP is still waiting for the MSQC report despite the email sent to him discussing its findings! Its been published since 22 September 2021! This is an MP lying to his constituent or he has copied and pasted the old generic response to the letters sent out prior to the MSQC inquiry. Either way, its simply not good enough.
Kelly Jane Tolhurst is a British Conservative Party politician serving as Member of Parliament for Rochester and Strood since 2015
Stephen Anthony McPartland is a British Conservative Party politician and business consultant. He was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Stevenage at the 2010 general election
Caroline Julia Dinenage is a British Conservative Party politician who elected as Member of Parliament for Gosport at the 2010 general election
Peter James Guy Aldous is a British Conservative Party politician. He has been the Member of Parliament for the Waveney constituency in Suffolk since the 2010 general election.
Stephen Paul Barclay PC MP is a British politician serving as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office since 2021. Conservative
Mark Steven Spencer is a British Conservative Party politician serving as the Member of Parliament for Sherwood since 2010
Mary Elizabeth Twist is a British Labour Party politician. She has served as the Member of Parliament for Blaydon since the 2017 general election
Andrew William Murrison PC is a British doctor, naval officer and politician from Northern Ireland, and has been Member of Parliament since 2001. Conservative
Robert Joseph Roberts is a British Independent politician. He has been the Member of Parliament for Delyn in North Wales since the 2019 general election. Conservative
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Sir Oliver Heald QC is a British barrister and Conservative Party politician serving as the Member of Parliament for North East Hertfordshire, formerly North Hertfordshire, since 1992
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Reported as no response yet:
'Yet' being the keyword- hopefully it's a case of them taking time to read and digest the details. It may be due to their communications rules (see my example above). It may be due to workload. Please chase them up if you see yours mentioned!
Mark Gino Francois is a British politician. A member of the Conservative Party, he has been the Member of Parliament for Rayleigh and Wickford since 2010
Nia Griffith MP for the Llanelli constituency and Shadow Secretary of State for Wales Labour
Matthew Raymond Western is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Warwick & Leamington since the snap 2017 general election.