For­mer FA chiefs hit out at gov­ern­ing body

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -


Five for­mer English Foot­ball Association bosses have hit out at the gov­ern­ing body and urged the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment to re­form an “out of bal­ance” or­gan­i­sa­tion filled with “el­derly white men”.

David Bern­stein, David Davies, Greg Dyke, Alex Horne and David Tries­man grouped to­gether to write to Damian Collins, chair­man of the Cul­ture, Me­dia and Sport Com­mit­tee.

They say the “well-mean­ing in­di­vid­u­als” in charge of the FA are “col­lec­tively un­rep­re­sen­ta­tive of English so­ci­ety” and “un­der-qual­i­fied” to deal with mod­ern foot­ball. The group also called for leg­is­la­tion to be passed, blam­ing the FA’s “in­abil­ity to re­form and mod­ernise in a fast-chang­ing world”. The let­ter said the FA lacks in­de­pen­dence and makes de­ci­sions based on vested in­ter­ests due to a lack of checks and bal­ances.

It also said the FA was re­sis­tant to change and that par­lia­ment needs to step in. The let­ter con­cluded: “Foot­ball is a much-loved sport en­joyed by mil­lions, and it has gen­uine cul­tural sig­nif­i­cance in the coun­try which first cod­i­fied what is now a global sport.

“A fo­cused in­ter­ven­tion can un­doubt­edly build on th­ese at­tributes, as has been recog­nised in many past in­quiries and re­ports. It would give mil­lions of play­ers and fans con­fi­dence they will no longer be mar­ginal to the fu­ture of their sport.

“It may well move us to re­dress­ing the woe­ful lack of English play­ers or man­agers and the em­bar­rass­ing fail­ures of our na­tional team for the past 50 years.”


Re­spond­ing to the let­ter, Collins wrote: “The se­lect com­mit­tee shares your con­cern that the cur­rent struc­ture of the FA makes it im­pos­si­ble for it to re­form it­self. “As such, there is cur­rently no ef­fec­tive gov­ern­ing body for foot­ball in Eng­land that is ca­pa­ble of re­spond­ing to the chal­lenges that face the mod­ern game.” Collins said the com­mit­tee is work­ing to pre­pare a draft Bill which would re­form the struc­ture of the FA.

He also said the com­mit­tee would ask for a de­bate in the House of Com­mons call­ing for a vote of no con­fi­dence in the FA. “We can­not af­ford to wait any longer,” he said. A state­ment from the FA in re­sponse to the let­ter to Collins read: “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.

How­ever, Arse­nal man­ager Arsene Wenger said foot­ball must be al­lowed to get its own house in or­der with­out gov­ern­ment in­ter­fer­ence be­cause sport and pol­i­tics should not mix.

“Foot­ball and pol­i­tics should not deal to­gether. Foot­ball is a very spe­cial ac­tiv­ity that should be ruled by foot­ball peo­ple,” he said.

“Our tar­get is to be adult enough to rule our own ac­tiv­ity.” Pressed on whether the gov­ern­ment should step in to ad­dress the fail­ure of the Eng­land na­tional team and the cur­rent sex­ual abuse scan­dal, Wenger said: “No, no, be­cause when you look at the his­tory of sport be­ing linked with pol­i­tics, it was not al­ways for the ben­e­fit of sport.

“I don’t know what their frus­tra­tion is. What we want is that the val­ues of our sport are re­spected. “I don’t see that foot­ball is in a cri­sis in this coun­try.” — AFP

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