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FA in need of total reform according to ex-chief exec

Wed 23rd Mar 2011 | Football Governance

The FA is in need of total reform and that government intervention is needed to overhaul its existing structure according to former chief executive, Ian Watmore.

Speaking at a parliamentary inquiry into football governance, Watmore said that the FA is "not in a good place at a strategic level".

Watmore who quit as chief executive after only 12 months in the job left claiming there "was nothing chief nor executive" about the role, stating the government should rip up the existing structure.

"I don't think it will come about through natural forces. It will come about only through external stimulus, whether that is through your committee or the government. I don't think it will happen naturally," said Watmore, who has been employed by the Cabinet Office to lead an efficiency drive across Whitehall.

Watmore quit after becoming frustrated over his inability to make progress on a wide range of issues, including that of the FA's role in overseeing financial regulation. "It was one of many things on which I was butting up against the governance ceiling and I thought it was time to stop wasting my time and go and do something else."

A discussion paper prepared for a sub-committee on the subject of financial regulation was one issue on which he failed to make headway. "The leagues felt they should do it themselves and we should just butt out," he said.

"You might get an issue like the financial and debt position. It's very hard to have a sensible discussion around the boardroom table when the chief executive of Manchester United [David Gill] is one of those around the table and back home his house is being daubed with green and gold by the Glazer protesters," he said. "He's a great guy but on an issue like that he's conflicted."

"I love the Premier League as a spectator. It has transformed football in this country. It is well run and has its issues but right now it's in a good place," he said.

"The FA is not in a good place at a strategic level. I would like to have a strong FA and a strong Premier League, not a strong FA or a strong Premier League."

That could only be brought about, he argued, by government intervention to force the FA to restructure and strengthen its position as the game's overarching governing body.

"In the end, you have to look at restructuring. If you need to do it, it has to be forced or at least threatened."

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