Posted: 12/14/2016


     The Football Association is 153 years old and formed before any other national association and so is just called THE FA. ( rather than say The French FA (FFF), German FA( DFB) etc. There are 120 members of the FA Board, the majority are elderly white men who are senior citizens, many resisting change in what is now a multi cultural, young and increasingly female BEAUTIFUL GAME. There are about 50 counties FA's including each of the three armed forces, the English Schools, Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey. 

      Five recent former heads of The FA wrote to MP Damian Collins, Chairman of the Parliamentary CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT Committee. David Bernstein, David Davies, Alex Home, David Triesman, and the most recent Greg Dyke. All said that in their time they had been unable to make much progress in making necessary changes. They suggested that Parliament bring in legislation, since the chances of the FA putting their own house in order was ZERO.

        They concluded in their letter by claiming that The FA lacks independence, avoids any form of political interference and makes decisions based on vested interests due to a lack of checks and balances. Football is a much loved sport enjoyed by millions and it has genuine cultural significance. It is the country which first codefied what is now a global sport.

        The Premier League financial power has a knock om effect right through the football pyramid. The FA is compelled to contribute to The EPL rather than to the grassroots of the game.  The majority of senior positions in The FA are under qualified to deal with the complexities of the FA structure.   "We fear now that time has run out " says Collins. "We no longer have any confidence that The FA can, or will. reform itself."  "It's like going back in time to 1952"~ claims Dyke/ 

       There are 25 Life Presidents, twelve members are over 80 years old and 92 over 60. Only 4 ethnic members, despite the fact that maybe 30% of pro players are non white these days. There has been a woeful lack of English players or managers and an embarassing failure of our national men's team for 50 years.

        One of the biggest advances in the game is the rise in standards and participation at both the elite and grassroots level with GIRLS AND WOMEN'S FOOTBALL. The England Lionesses achieved THIRD PLACE at the FIFA WOMEN'S WORLD CUP IN CANADA.  From later in 2017 the womens Pro league will have an autumn, winter, spring schedule with a shortened league schedule and cup competition in Spring-Summer 2017. One well meaning but poor judgement was a recent promotion to increase interest in female participation.

        "Colourful, nice smelling bibs, and pink whistles."  Allow girls to wear casual clothes, and try futsal to start with. "WE ARE NOT BARBIE DOLLS" came the reply from the provinces. The FA wants to DOUBLE female participation by the year 2020 and grow the women's game at all levels. 

       Collins said that his committee would draft proposals to put before parliament in early 2017 to force changes at The Football Association. In the past FIFA has not taken kindly to such interference in member associations, so they had better tread warily.

      Last week I stated that there was anger at The Russian Federation hosting ANY international sports competitions while there is a doubt on their ability to play fair. A few days ago the World Skeleton and Bobsleigh Championships, scheduled for Sochi, have been taken away by the governing body,IBSF,  with venues in Germany and St. Moritz, Switzerland willing to take over at short notice.

      I recently went to a World Tourism Market in London and met with Russian tourist organizations from St. Peterburg and Kazan, two of the 4 cities, plus Moscow and Sochi, scheduled to host the FIFA Confederations Cup next summer with 8 countries taking part, and a dry run for the much bigger FIFA WORLD CUP RUSSIA 2018. 

      Is FIFA likely to move these two events?. Not likely, unless Putin's tanks roll into Lithuania in the new year.

    Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year