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UEFA's William Gaillard brands the FA as the weakest national association in Europe

Wed 27th Apr 2011 | UEFA

One of UEFA's top officials has branded the Football Association as the weakest national association in Europe due to the dominance of the Barclays Premier League.

William Gaillard, adviser to UEFA president Michel Platini, said the success of the Premier League and Football League had overwhelmed the FA.

Gaillard, giving evidence to the culture, media and sport committee who are carrying out an inquiry into football governance, said: "There is no doubt that turf wars have damaged English football and the FA is probably in a weaker spot than any other FA in Europe - probably the result of the overwhelming power of professional football especially as expressed by the Premier League and Football League.

"In other countries there is a more balanced situation. In most other countries the professional game has a minority position.

"English professional football has been enormously successful in producing revenues and building up the game and we have to be grateful to the Premier League and Football League for that.

"At the same time this has not resulted in a better situation for English football in general and performances of the national team have not been outstanding."

Gaillard recommended that England should adopt the football model used in Holland - "an excellent grass-roots model" - and that the FA should have a technical director.

Meanwhile, sports minister Hugh Robertson also issued a damning indictment of how English football is run and insisted he was right to brand it the worst-run sport in the country.

Robertson said change is now vital - but that although legislation to force that change is an option it remains a last resort.

The minister told MPs little had changed on the FA despite the Burns review of six years ago.

Robertson said: "The fact is when I looked at the corporate governance operations in sports, particularly the big five, it was noticeably worse than in any other sport.

"There are no independent non-executive directors despite the Burns review.

"Every single one of the directors is a white, male and late middle-aged and there is no one who has played the game to any reasonable level and no women or anyone from the ethnic communities.

"For the 2018 World Cup bid £15million was spent and we succeeded solely in garnering one extra vote other than our own.

"The chairman of the Football Foundation [Clive Sherling] resigned in despair at the politicking going on around the game.

"The evidence is pretty clear."

Sherling, a businessman who was formerly chairman of the Football Licensing Authority, stepped down earlier this year after just 18 months in the job.

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