The FA tried to interview Vince McBean five times over the space of six months without success before eventually banning him, we can reveal.
They wanted to question him over unspecified allegations relating to his conduct when first becoming involved with Clapton FC in 1999.
On three of the five occasions, Mr McBean told the FA that he was unable to attend an interview because of bereavements .
Two deaths meant he himself had to go to funerals abroad, while the other death affected his legal representative, Gabriel Awosika of Astute Legal Solicitors.
Mr McBean had also asked for details of the allegations to be submitted in advance before he would agree to attend any an interview.
In the end, Mr McBean did turn up on October 28th, an hour late, to be asked why he had not attended the hearings despite being compelled to do so.
He was questioned only on why he had not complied with the FA’s request to attend an interview, rather than any specific allegations relating to 1999.
He was supported by Essex Senior League secretary Michelle Dorling but was without legal representation..Mr McBean’s request for Lord Ouseley, former Kick it Out chair, to also accompany him was rejected.
The three-man panel – award-winning lawyer Ifeanyi Odogwu and former top footballers Tony Agana and Bradley Pritchard – unanimously upheld the charge.
Mr McBean was suspended from all footballing activity and was asked to pay £1000 in costs towards the hearing.
He was also told that, if he does wish to submit himself to the FA disciplinary process, a hearing could be arranged within a week. Depending on the result of that, his suspension could be removed.
Four weeks on, there has still been no hearing.
The full minutes of the meeting, from the FA website, are below.
IN THE MATTER OF THE REGULATORY COMMISSION OF THE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION
BETWEEN THE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION-and VINCENT MCBEAN
DECISION AND WRITTEN REASONS
Regulatory Commission: Ifeanyi Odogwu – Independent Legal Panel Member
Tony Agana – Independent Football Panel Member
Bradley Pritchard – Independent Football Panel Member
Secretary: Michael O’Connor – Regulatory Commissions & Appeals Officer
Date: 28 October 2019
Attending: Vincent McBean, Participant.
Rebecca Turner (Advocate, representing the FA)
Leon Goldman, Integrity Investigator
Michelle Dorling, Participant’s witness.
1. By Charge letter dated 1 August 2019 it was alleged that Vincent McBean
(“VMcB”) was charged with misconduct under FA rule F3 in respect of failing
to comply with requirements under FA Rule F2. It is alleged that he did not
comply with requirements pursuant to FA Rule F2, by failing to answer
questions and provide information at a time and place determined by The
Football Association (“the FA”).
2. This is the decision and Written Reasons of the Commission, following personal
hearing. By necessity it is a summary document, and it is not intended to be a
record of all submissions and evidence adduced. For the avoidance of doubt, the
Commission carefully considered all the evidence and submissions made in this
3. There is an extensive factual background to the charges. The FA Senior Integrity
Investigator Leon Goldman (“LG”) produced two statement, dated 18 June 2019
(later corrected to be 18 July 2019), and 30 July 2019 as part of the investigation
which very helpfully sets out the background chronology.
4. VMcB is the Chief Executive of Clapton Football Club.. The FA are investigating
VMcB’s involvement with Clapton Football Club. The Commission understands
some allegations have been made against VMcB, but the details of those
allegations were not shared with us, and neither did they impact on the Charge
that this Commission was considering.
5. LG is employed by the FA as an Integrity Investigator. His duties include the
investigation of alleged breaches of The FA Rules and Regulations. As part of his investigation into VMcB and the circumstances of him taking up a senior role
within Clapton FC, he intended to conduct a formal FA interview with him at
6. On 30th April 2019, LG e-mailed VMcB requesting that he attend an interview at
Wembley Stadium. LG also included a deadline of 8th May 2019 to respond to
7. On 20th May 2019 LG sent a further e-mail to VMcB as he had not received any
response from him.
8. On 21st May 2019 VMcB responded to LG via e-mail stating that he was abroad
‘burying a friend’, that he would be back in ten days and that he wanted a copy
of the information the FA has around the allegation.
9. On 19th June 2019, LG sent another letter to VMcB with new dates for the
interview as he had missed the previous ones. He also provided some brief
background information around the allegation made against VMcB:
“[…] The allegation relates to the circumstances of you taking up a position at Clapton
FC a number of years ago and the governance of the club since that time. At this stage
the purpose of the meeting is to obtain your account of these events.”
10. On 20th June 2019 VMcB replied to LG via e-mail stating that he would attend
an interview when he had been provided with the same information that had
been given to The FA. He said:
[…] I are more than happy to attend a meeting once I am provided with the same
information that you are using to carry out your investigation. I previously requested
the information but this has not been forthcoming. I do not expect to be provided with
names but so that there is equity and transparency I feel very strongly that I should not
be in the dark over the allegations being made. […]
11. On 25th June 2019 LG sent VMcB another letter requesting that he attend an
interview with The FA, again providing new dates for the interview to take
place. An accompanying e-mail to this letter also provided further background
information around the allegation.
[…] I have previously indicated to you that the allegations made against you relate to a
time when you took up a role at Clapton, which I believe was in 1999. The purpose of any
FA interview would be to discuss this period of time and the subsequent years covering
some of your involvement in the club. In particular I will be asking some questions
around the AGM in November 1999 and your involvement in said meeting. At this time
I will not be forwarding any further information on which I will be relying upon in any
interview and welcome you to choose a suitable date to attend Wembley so this enquiry
can be progressed […]
12. LG gave VMcB a deadline of 1st July to respond to this letter around providing
a date for the interview.
13. On 8th July 2019, LG sent a fourth letter, via email to VMcB as he had not
responded by the above deadline. LG provided more dates for an interview and
he also included The FA’s powers of enquiries under FA Rule F1. He outlined
VMcB’s obligations as a Participant under this rule. The letter gave a deadline of
15th July 2019 for VMcB to respond by.
14. On 15th July 2019 VMcBsent LG an e-mail stating that he had handed this matter
to his solicitors and that they would contact The FA. He did not provide any
dates to attend the interview.
15. LG then received an e-mail from Gabriel Awosika of Astute Legal Solicitors who
stated that they would not be able to attend an interview until the end of August
as their diary was “full up”.
16. On 18th July 2019 LG sent what was now the fifth letter to VMcB and included
Mr. Awosika. This e-mail provided more dates for the interview to be conducted,
and again reminded both parties of VMcB’s obligations under FA rules.
17. Mr. Awosika replied requesting that The FA do not contact VMcB directly and
that they are only available to attend the interview on 24th, 25th or 26th
18. On 29 July 2019, in an email directed to Mr. Awosika and copying in the FA,
“[…] Please inform Mr. Goldman that I will not be attending any meeting about a
subject matter of 20 years ago, without information being provided about the same to me
first. It is totally, not acceptable that I’m being asked to attend a meeting which will be
taped and could be used against me at a later date, without me being furnish with the
19. LG subsequently collated copies of the e-mail correspondence between Mr.
McBean, Mr. Awosika and himself which is included in our bundle of papers as
exhibit LPG/1. He retained a copy of the five letters sent to Mr. McBean
requesting that he attend an interview with The FA which is at exhibit LPG/2 in
20. As mentioned above, the issue before this Commission relate solely to the
Charge under FA Rule F2. It is alleged that VMcB did not comply with
requirements pursuant to FA Rule F2, by failing to answer questions and provide
information at a time and place determined by the FA.
21. By Reply document dated 9 August 2019, VMcBdenied the charge and requested
a personal hearing.
22. Under the FA’s powers of inquiry under Rule F:
1 The Association shall have the power to monitor the compliance by each
Participant with the Rules, the Laws of the Game, the statutes and regulations of
FIFA and UEFA and the rules and regulations of each Affiliated Association and
Competition to which a Participant is subject and/or inquire into any incident,
facts or matters which may constitute misconduct under these Rules. It is for The
Association to determine in its absolute discretion the manner in which it
conducts an inquiry.
2 In carrying out its functions under Rule F1, The Association shall have the
power to require of any Participant upon reasonable notice:
(a) his or her attendance to answer questions and provide information at a time
and place determined by The Association; and
(b) the provision to The Association of documents, information or any other
material of any nature held by the Participant; and
(c) the procurement and provision to The Association of documents, information
or any other material of any nature not held by the Participant but which the
Participant has the power to obtain. It is for The Association to determine the
nature and extent of any material required for disclosure in accordance with (b)
Where a Participant is interviewed by The Association pursuant to subparagraph (a) above, such interview may be recorded by any method
determined by The Association in its absolute discretion to be appropriate,
A copy of any such recording shall be provided to the Participant as soon as
practicable after the interview.
Any failure by a Participant to comply with any requirement under Rule F2 may
constitute Misconduct under the Rules and The Association may bring a charge
or such charges as it sees fit.
23. Prior to the personal hearing, a number of matters were raised in
24. In a written statement dated 9 August 2019, VMcB claimed that he had been
subject to numerous investigations in previous years as a result of allegations
made by organised groups and individuals which he named. He commented
that his belief was that he will never be treated fairly by some within the FA. He
denied that he refused to attend a meeting, rather what he has requested is more
information about the reason for attending.
25. VMcB went on to request disclosure of a number of documents before the
hearing. Those materials are particularised in paragraph 13 of his witness
statement dated 9 August. In a particularised response, the FA refused to
disclose the material. The issue went for determination by the independent
Judicial Panel Chairman, Mr Christopher Quinlan QC, who refused VMcB’s
request for disclosure for the reasons set out in his decision.
26. On 26 September 2019, in order to set a date for the personal hearing requested
by VMcB, our Secretary Mr. O’Connor invited the parties to inform him whether
they would be unable to attend any one of three proposed dates in around midOctober.
27. The FA were available for two of those dates however on 1 October, Mr. Awosika
stated that none of the dates were appropriate, as “a funeral is being held abroad
and therefore it needs to be attended to”. He requested that dates after the 17th
October should be arranged.
28. Following receipt of the email from Mr McBean’s representative, I as
Chairperson to the Commission requested all parties provide the dates they are
not available between 17th October – 1st November. Regulatory Legal stated
they were available throughout the suggested date range, and VMcB nor his
representatives provided any further observations. The personal hearing was
initially listed for 22 October 2019, however due to an oversight by the FA, LG
was due to be on holiday on this date. VMcB requested the attendance of LG.
The initial hearing date was therefore vacated and a new date of 28 October 2019
was set following VMcB’s confirmation that he was available for this date.
29. In the same correspondence, VMcB requested the attendance of Essex Senior
League Secretary Michelle Dorlings, and in addition “Kickitout and Lord
Ouseley”. Upon request by my directions, VMcB made submission as to why he
considered Ms. Dorlings should attend as a witness, and a representative from
the charity KickItOut and Lord Ouseley attend as observers. VMcB served a
statement of Ms. Dorling. The FA objected to this application. The matter came
before me as a preliminary issue in my capacity as Chairperson. Upon
considering the submissions, I directed that VMcB was permitted to call Ms
Dorling as a witness and be accompanied by his legal representatives, however
having failed to provide the identity of an officer of KickItOut pursuant to my
directions, and in any event failed to persuade me as to their relevance to these proceedings, such persons will not be permitted to observe the hearing. Further,
I was not persuaded as to the relevance of Lord Ouseley to these proceedings
and he was not permitted to observe the hearing.
30. On Friday 25 October 2019, at 16:25, VMcB wrote by email to the FA that “My
solicitor is away on his family bereavement. It is my intention to attend although I will
over the weekend attempt to get legal representative to accompany me for this hearing.”
31. On the same date, at 17:14, VMcB communicated again through email to set out
his formal objection to not being permitted to invite Lord Ouseley and KickItOut.
32. The start of the hearing was delayed for 1 hour due to VMcB’s late arrival. He
arrived alone without representation. VMcB wished to raise two preliminary
matters. The first was an application to adjourn the hearing due to the absence
of legal representation. Secondly, VMcB raised an abuse of process argument.
Ms. Turner resisted both applications.
33. Upon considering the submissions raised, we refused the application to adjourn.
Whilst we acknowledge it is far from ideal for VMcB to be unrepresented at the
hearing when he wishes to be. However, this must be balanced against several
competing factors. There has been a protracted history to this case, as set out
above. The Charge letter was issued on 1 August, and relates to events back in
April. Further, in the correspondence from VMcB’s solicitors on 1 October
regarding availability, it was indicated that a funeral was being held abroad, and
therefore to “please arrange dates after the 17th.” We were concerned that despite
listing the hearing date on 16 October 2019 there was no subsequent
correspondence from his solicitors on record that 28 October 2019 was now no
longer available. VMcB was not able to give any specific information about when
or how he came to be informed of the bereavement, and why it was only until
late in the day on Friday afternoon that he raised the issue. He could not demonstrate that he had made attempts to obtain alternative representation. He
also could not give any assurances as to when his solicitor would be available
for a reconvened hearing.
34. In relation to the second application, we addressed our mind to the general legal
principles of abuse of process as they apply in law. The courts have an overriding
duty to promote justice and prevent injustice. From this duty there arises an
inherent power to ‘stay’ an indictment (or stop a prosecution in the criminal
context) if the court is of the opinion that to allow the ‘prosecution’ to continue
would amount to an abuse of the process of the court. Abuse of process is to be
exercised only in exceptional circumstances: Attorney General’s Reference (No 1
of 1990)  Q.B. 630, CA; Attorney General’s Reference (No 2 of 2001) 
2 A.C. 72, HL. The essential focus of the doctrine is on preventing unfairness at
trial, through which the defendant is prejudiced in the presentation of his or her
case. The burden of establishing that the bringing or continuation of proceedings
amounts to an abuse of the court’s process is on the person charged. The
standard of proof is the balance of probabilities: R v Telford Justices ex parte
Badhan  2 Q.B. 78; R v Great Yarmouth Magistrates ex parte Thomas 
Crim. L.R. 116.
35. We rejected VMcB’s abuse of process application as we did not agree that the
proceedings had been unfair.
36. Once those matters were dealt with, Ms Turner outlined the factual background
and the FA’s case that VMcB had essentially failed to comply with a request to
attend an interview to answer questions and provide information at a time and
place determined by the FA.
37. LG gave evidence and answered questions from both parties and some
clarification points from the Commission. The focus of the questions concerned
the FA’s obligations to disclose material to Participants who may be the subject
of an investigation. LG confirmed that practice differed from case to case and there was no written guidance or policy. When asked why he would not give disclosure in an investigation of this nature, he stated
“Certainly in the nature of this one that stretches over a number of years there’s a lot of
information that I didn’t have and wouldn’t have certainly knowledge of until after the
interview. So there’s always a risk of potential evidence that could go missing or be lost
or other ways to hinder any kind of investigation.”
38. Later in his evidence, he added:
[…] Again, going back to what is under F2, it’s very much just down to the investigator
what, if any, disclosure is given. So it’s a sliding scale. It’s a case of you want to give
enough disclosure for the interview to take place and for a conversation to actually
happen, but you also don’t want to give away every single bit of information you have
because that could hinder the process. So it’s different for every case. There’s no set in
stone kind of guidance or process you would have.
39. LG confirmed that his intention for the interview was gathering information
from VMcB and allowing him to give his version of events. He described that
information can be disclosed during the interview, and if necessary, it can be
paused to allow the Participant to consider disclosure.
40. VMcB gave evidence about the background to the investigation, and his
concerns about malicious third parties who he believed were the source of unfair
allegations against him. He said he had provided the FA with information in
previous investigations, and wanted to have access to the information he had
previously provided. He also felt strongly that it was fair that he receive
disclosure of what allegations were being made against him, before he is asked
questions in a recorded interview.
41. Under questioning, VMcB did not accept the suggestion that the language in
LG’s emails and letters was not accusing him of anything. He said he knew who was behind the allegations. He was asked specifically about his request for disclosure:
Ms. Turner: So is it your case then that you weren’t ever going to that interview
until you had been provided with all the evidence we had in respect of you and your involvement at the club?
VMcB. It would be unfair for The FA to be you can say ambushing me in a meeting with questions about matters from 1995 when I first became involved to when Clapton was rescued in 1999 to 2019. It would be totally unfair and that’s what I’m alluding to.
THE CHAIR: That’s not an answer to the question. The question was: was it your
stance that you would not attend an interview until all that information
that the FA had was given to you?
VMcB: In relation to that matter, yes.
42. In response to questions from the Commission, VMcB said the following:
THE CHAIR: […]. Do you accept that for the reasons you have given, summarising,
you don’t feel you were given adequate disclosure about this
THE CHAIR: About what you were going to be asked. For those reasons you didn’t
feel it was fair for you to attend an interview?
VMcB Absolutely, but I am here.
THE CHAIR: You are here at the hearing, yes, but this in relation to the F2 charge.
But is it fair to say for those reasons you refused to attend the interview with Mr Goldman?
VMcB I have not refused to attend an interview. What I have said is that I will not go to an interview until the information with regards to this matter has been given to me because it’s going to be unfair.
43. Ms. Dorling was called as a witness by VMcB, and provided some background
information about the circumstances involving allegations against Clapton FC.
However, with the utmost respect to her, her evidence was ultimately not
relevant to the issue this Commission was there to determine.
44. In closing, Ms. Turner referred the Commission to the written correspondence
which suggested VMcB refused to attend an interview. She submitted that due
to the FA’s powers of enquiry, there is no requirement to disclose anything
before an interview. Under the Rules, it is also in their absolute discretion to
decide the manner in which it conducts an enquiry.
45. VMcB in closing reiterated that he has never refused to be interviewed by the
FA. Rather, he has simply requested disclosure. When pressed on this by the
Commission, he responded as follows:
THE CHAIR: But it’s not for you to pre-empt that process though, is it? You can only
do your best by attending and answering questions which you are able
MR MCBEAN: I’ve done that before though, sir. I’ve done that twice before. I’ve
done that before and I have always adhered to everything The FA has said, you know, and there comes a time then when you have to say no, no, enough is enough, this is wrong, you know, and I am asking for information and I am not getting it and then I am
being charged and then I know the reason […]
Decision on liability
46. In our assessment, the relevant issue in the case was relatively simple; whether
the FA proved that VMcB did not comply with requirements pursuant to FA
Rule F2, by failing to agree to attend an interview to answer questions and
provide information in relation to the investigation conducted by LG, at a time
and place determined by the FA.
47. The applicable standard of proof for this case is the balance of probability. The
balance of probability standard means that the Commission is satisfied an event
occurred if the Commission considers that, on the evidence, the occurrence of
the event was more likely than not. Notwithstanding the standard of proof, the
burden remained on The FA to prove the charges against VMcB.
48. There is no dispute in the papers before the Commission, and indeed at the
hearing, that the FA made multiple attempts to arrange a suitable time and date
to conduct an interview with VMcB around allegations they have received.
Indeed, VMcB was formally requested by letters to attend interviews on
potential dates at Wembley Stadium on five occasions between 30 April 2019 and
18 July 2019. On two of those letters at LPG/2 on 8th and 18th July 2019, LG
specifically reminded VMcB of the FA’s powers of inquiry, and indeed VMcB’s
responsibilities as a Participant, under Rule F of the Handbook (Page 119).
49. Strictly speaking, although this was not a point argued by VMcB, it may be
suggested in VMcB’s defence that the FA had not actually ‘determined a time…’
pursuant to Rule F.2(a) for the interview. In our view, this approach to Rule F
would be purely artificial. The letters each contained reference to the meeting
that ‘will be taking place at Wembley’ on a selection of potential dates, with the onus
on VMcB to communicate which one of those dates was most convenient. On each occasion, those were the times and place that the FA required VMcB to attend interview. We find that this satisfied Rule F.2(a).
50. We find the FA provided reasonable notice upon each request.
51. We did not accept VMcB’s submission that he did not refuse to attend the
interview. It is clear from VMcB’s responses, and his conduct, that his attendance
was conditional on receiving disclosure of the allegation. This was explicitly
admitted at the personal hearing.
52. We acknowledge that on 18 July Mr. Awosika proffered three dates in September
2019 to attend an interview. This was not considered reasonable by LG, who
requested that the interview should take place no later than 15 August 2019. Due
to the protracted nature of these proceedings, we also considered this to be
53. On 29 July 2019, in an email directed to his solicitor and copying in the FA, VMcB
stated. “[…] Please inform Mr. Goldman that I will not be attending any meeting about a
subject matter of 20 years ago, without information being provided about the same to me
first. It is totally, not acceptable that I’m being asked to attend a meeting which will be
taped and could be used against me at a later date, without me being furnish with the
54. VMcB submitted at the hearing that the FA were copied into this email in error.
We note that there was no subsequent email from VMcB or his representatives
to clarify this. Neither was this included in his statement. In any event, it is clear
that VMcB’s instruction to his solicitor was that the FA should be informed that
he would not be attending an interview unless he was provided the information
that he requested.
55. Whilst we certainly understood VMc’s concern about the potential for being
ambushed with questions about historic matters that he would be unprepared
to answer, the Rules clearly do not require the FA to disclose any material prior
to interview. Also, it cannot be right, or the intention of the Rules, for
Participant’s to frustrate the investigative process by dictating the terms upon
which they will attend an interview. We accepted LG’s evidence and Ms.
Turner’s submissions that the decision of advance disclosure is case and fact
specific. It is correct that disclosure in some cases could prejudice the
56. As mentioned earlier, we are unaware of the specific allegations against VMcB
under investigation, however, VMcB was provided with sufficient outline detail
by LG so as to be prepared to answer questions on those topics. He was therefore
on notice and was not completely in the dark about the nature of the proposed
interview. Indeed, on several occasions during the hearing, VMcB averred that
he already knew the identities of those that made allegations and what those
allegations were about. Of course, if new matters were raised at the interview,
VMcB could have requested further time to address them at that stage.
57. We considered that his response on 29 July 2019, together with VMcB’s conduct
over the course of the correspondence between the parties, was a clear refusal to
attend the proposed interview which therefore amounted to a failure to answer
questions and provide information at a time and place determined by the FA
58. In a unanimous decision, the Charge was therefore proved.
Decision on sanction
59. We were not familiar with previous sanctions for breaches of Rule F2 for ongoing
investigations, and none was brought to our attention by the Parties. In that
sense, this was a unique case.
60. It was agreed by Ms. Turner that the intention of Rule F2 is not strictly punitive,
rather a sanction under Rule F3 could be to ensure future compliance. We agreed
that this was the logical and proportionate approach.
61. Ms. Turner submitted that an interview could be arranged within a week.
62. Having carefully considered all the relevant factors, the Commission ordered
that VMcB is indefinitely suspended from all football and football related
activity until such a time as he attends an interview(s) to answer questions and
provide information to the satisfaction of the FA. This suspension will become
effective from 5pm 30th October 2019.
63. Once The FA confirm VMcB has successfully completed the interview(s), it is a
matter for the Regulatory Commission to lift his suspension.
64. In addition, the Commission ordered VMcB to pay a contribution of £1,000
towards the costs of the hearing.
65. This decision may be appealed in accordance with the relevant regulations
within The FA Handbook.
Ifeanyi Odogwu (Chairman),
13 November 2019