Around 100 Football Association staff are to lose their jobs as part of a major restructuring that will create more investment for grassroots football.
The FA have outlined plans for £30m of annual savings – reported to include £5m of savings from staff cuts – which will release money for investment in grassroots facilities, with 3G ‘hubs’ planned for 30 cities nationwide by 2020.
The restructuring is due to be completed by the end of November, with the majority of the £30m savings to come from re-financing the loan on Wembley Stadium, a re-organisation of the FA’s senior management team at both Wembley and St George’s Park and general cuts.
The job cuts are believed to affect every department across the FA, with the exception of Dan Ashworth’s technical football department, and will follow a 45-day consultation during which staff will be expected to accept redundancy packages.
Announcing the restructuring, new FA chief executive Martin Glenn said: “We need to ensure we are focusing our ambitions and putting football back at the centre of the FA. In creating this extra funding pool we can start to build more 3G pitches and create bursaries for coaches, with the ultimate ambition of resourcing our elite England teams to give them the best chance of success at tournaments.
“It’s about making hard choices about what activities we want to prioritise and what we pull back from. Quite simply England needs more football pitches and we need more and better coaches.
“The down side to this is that we are likely to have to lose a significant number of posts within the FA. It will be no reflection whatsoever on any of the individuals impacted during this period, but it is clear that the need for change is compelling.”
The savings will help to fund the FA’s new ‘Parklife’ project – which will see football hubs with 3G pitches built in 30 cities across England by 2020 – as part of the £260m investment into grassroots football over the next four years.
Whilst any investment to improve the parlous state of grassroots football facilities is generally welcomed across the game, the FA’s planned job cuts have attracted some criticism, particularly given how meagre the £5m they will save looks in comparison to the £8bn the Premier League is expected to receive in TV revenue from 2016-2019.
In a withering put-down of the FA chairman, the Guardian’s David Conn said chairman Greg Dyke had “singularly failed” to take on the Premier League during his tenure at the FA and had been “consummately outmanoeuvred” by their chief executive Richard Scudamore.
“Nobody can argue with a programme to raise England’s public football facilities above the level of squalor but it is unclear whether Dyke even understands how much of a personal climbdown this programme represents or how complete is his political defeat by the Premier League,” wrote Conn.