FA needs major reform, say former executives

Greg Dyke among five former senior FA chairmen to call for overhaul at game’s governing body

Five former Football Association executives have called on the game’s governing body to modernise, slamming them as “out of balance” and held back by “elderly white men”.

Three former chairmen – Greg Dyke, David Bernstein and David Triesman – along with former senior executives Alex Horne and David Davies have called on the Government to legislate to force the FA to reform and modernise.

The high profile former bosses, who failed to push through any significant reform during their time at the FA, insist government intervention is required to force the FA to modernise and so have asked the Culture, Media and Sport committee to draft new legislation to force progress.

Committee chairman Damian Collins MP responded to the request by saying that a draft bill to deliver the reform is being prepared, saying “we cannot afford to wait any longer”.

He added that the committee would ask for a debate in the House of Commons calling for a vote of no confidence in the FA, but that government’s involvement would stop short of direct intervention in FA affairs.

FA logo“We’re not asking for the government to directly interfere with the running of the game,” Collins told talkSPORT.

“We’re proposing that parliament could change the constitution, the basic rules of the FA, to make it easier for the FA board to run the organisation and deliver reform.

“We’re not suggesting that the government itself deliver that reform, just that a piece of legislation would enable that reform to take place.

“I think what is really significant about this letter is that these are men who, until very recently, were trying to deliver reform and they are saying it’s impossible, practically, for the FA to reform itself because of its current rules.

“Therefore, the only option if we want to see real reform is legislation that enables that to happen.”

The former executives’ letter slams the FA’s ability to affect change and their lack of control over the Premier League “juggernaut”, whose financial power they claim has adverse knock-on effects across the football pyramid.

The letter states: “We can testify first-hand that the FA’s decision-making structures are arcane and convoluted leading to a lack of clarity about the role and purpose of these structures. The FA has neither the modernity of approach nor independence required to counter the EPL juggernaut or to modernise its own governance.”

They highlighted the financial imbalance in English football and criticised the “bizarre” funding rules that compel the FA to invest half of its money in the professional game rather than grassroots football – in line with our argument about FA Cup prize money here on Club Website in May.

Stoneleigh Athletic“Twenty clubs are in receipt of billions whilst the FA is under threat of losing millions which it gives wholly to grassroots football,” the letter reads.

“To make matters worse, under the bizarre funding formula of the FA, not only does the FA not receive any of the EPL billions, it is compelled to contribute tens of millions to the EPL, also money which could go to the grassroots of the game.”

In response, a Football Association statement said: “The FA is currently working on governance reforms to adhere to Sport England and UK Sport’s Governance Code for Sport which was released in October this year.

“The FA welcomes the new Code as a means of ensuring that sports organisations in receipt of public money are operating in an effective and transparent manner that best supports their sports. We will continue to work with the appropriate bodies, DCMS and Sport England, to achieve this joint ambition.”

A Premier League statement said they have “always supported the FA’s governance reforms”, whilst adding that they “have kept patience when past chairmen and chief executives at the FA have failed to deliver, but will continue to work with the current leadership team at the FA to progress their governance agenda.”

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This article appeared in The Clubhouse – the monthly newsletter from Club Website. To get the best grassroots news, offers and competitions straight to your inbox every month, sign up today!

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Dan Pope
Writer at Teamer
Freelance writer, editor and copywriter, with a passion for grassroots sport. A right back turned football writer, Dan is the former editor of Club Website and has been lucky enough to work in the field of grassroots and community sport for the last 10 years.

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2 Comments

  1. […] representing the wider game”, successive ministers for sport and, most recently, a number of former FA executives, have “been ignored by the […]

  2. […] of the communities they serve, with the commonly-held view that they are full of “elderly, white men“, many of whom are no longer involved in the […]

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