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Information related to footballers' schemes

FOI reference - FOI-3555
Date - 8 January 2019

Request

I would like to find out more information, included in scheme / membership documents for the following pension schemes:

  • Football League Limited Players’ Non-contributory Cash Benefit Scheme (PBS)
  • Football League Limited Players’ Retirement Income Scheme (FLPRIS)
  • Professional Footballers’ Pension Scheme (or PFPS)

I am particularly interested in the employer contribution to the player’s pension, and the calculation by which their pension was worked out upon retirement.

I would also like to know about the change to the earnings cap in 1989 and then the change to the new PFPS in 2006, in particular did existing scheme members of the PBS have to transfer to the new PFPS?

Response

I can confirm that we hold information falling within scope of your request. However, we are unable to supply the information requested for the reasons set out below.

Information we are not able to supply

Section 44 of the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA)

Section 59 of the Pensions Act 2004 (PA04) obliges us to compile and maintain a register of occupational pension schemes and personal pension schemes which are, or have been, registrable schemes.

As we have been given strong powers to demand documents and other information from trustees, employers and others, those powers are also balanced by restrictions on how we disclose the information provided to us. The information held on our register is information we receive in the exercise of our statutory functions and is considered ‘restricted information’.

Restricted information is defined at section 82(4) of the PA04 as ‘information obtained by the Regulator in the exercise of its functions which relates to the business or other affairs of any person’.

Under section 82(5) of the PA04 it is a criminal offence to disclose such information except as permitted under that Act.

Whilst the FoIA is based on the presumption of releasing information, section 44(1)(a) of the FoIA provides an absolute exemption to the requirement to disclose any information if its disclosure is prohibited by or under any enactment. In this case, section 82 of the PA04 prohibits disclosure and we are unable to disclose the register, extracts from the register or confirm whether a specific pension scheme is listed on the register. This exemption is absolute and does not require a public interest assessment be undertaken.

In regards to the change in earnings cap in 1989 and 2006, I have established that we do not hold this information.