Ex-FA chiefs urge Government to reform 'out of balance' organisation

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Five former Football Association chiefs have urged the Government to reform the structure of the organisation, criticising its upper ranks as being "out of balance" and filled with "elderly white men".

The ex-bosses wrote to Damian Collins, chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, claiming that the "well-meaning individuals" are "collectively unrepresentative of English society" and "under-qualified" to deal with the FA's role in modern football.

David Bernstein, David Davies, Greg Dyke, Alex Horne and David Triesman called for legislation to be passed, blaming the FA's "inability to reform and modernise in a fast-changing world".

The letter also said the FA lacks independence and makes decisions based on vested interests due to a lack of checks and balances.

It 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, Mr 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."

Mr 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.

"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."