Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

FA Ilings

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

FA Ilings

Article excerpt

Feeble Football Association bigwigs have allowed the beautiful game to be damaged politically and structurally.

They have let the big clubs take organisational control and ignored their own rule book in the face of rampant commercialism, to the detriment of the game as a whole.

That is the conclusion of a damning new report into the failed leadership of the game over the past 20 years.

The report - FA: Fit For Purpose? - was launched into the governance of the FA in the wake of the tabloid revelations of sexual shenanigans at the top, dubbed 'FariaGate'.

The hard-hitting report says English football has been left significantly weaker after FA chiefs failed to act decisively at a series of crunch points in the game's recent history.

It lists 20 watershed decisions that FA chiefs got wrong in a steady slide towards organisational crisis.

Soho Square is slammed for its failure to prevent the breakaway of the Premier League and the subsequent structural imbalance, in which the big clubs dominate the game both financially and politically.

The FA is blasted for allowing the advent of franchising, by letting Wimbledon move to Milton Keynes in open defiance of their own rules.

It is roasted for a failure to control greedy owners who run down clubs for personal gain, and to crack down on unscrupulous agents.

And it is lambasted for its failure to challenge in any way the takeover of Old Trafford by Malcolm Glazer, in a move that left a member club burdened with debt and at odds with many of its own supporters.

The report by independent think-tank The Sports Nexus said the repeated failures of successive short-sighted FA leadership have weakened the organisation's own position and let the Premier League become the dominant force.

In restructuring the old 92-man council, the FA caved into pressure from the professional game and allowed officials of Premiership clubs to dominate a new 12-man executive. That meant the organisation was being led by people who had a clear conflict of interest and an allegiance to clubs which often saw their own priorities as different to the FA's.

This has led to a structural paralysis and a crisis of confidence among the public. …

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