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New sports minister wants football reform

Wed 19th May 2010 | Football Governance

New sports minister Hugh Robertson has warned England’s football authorities that they must reform their governance and power structures or face the prospect of external regulation.

Robertson has set a deadline of the end of the summer for football to demonstrate willingness to reform. The Government’s main concerns are the divisions between the Football Association and Premier League, which led to the resignation of Ian Watmore as FA chief executive this year, and the FA’s antiquated structure.

He told The Times: “In terms of structural reform, it’s pointless looking at the FA without also reforming the Premier League and the Football League. If you weaken one part of the tripod, then one of the other organisations will just step into the vacuum. 

“We’ll give football the chance to sort itself out first by seeing how they plan to reform over the summer, and if it doesn’t work then the Government will step in. We need to take a serious look at reforming the governance and structure of football in this country.” 

There is also concern about a lack a leadership at the top of the FA, given that it is now without a chief executive and a chairman following Lord Triesman’s resignation over the 2018 corruption allegations.

“You need an independent chairman,” Robertson added. “It didn’t work with Lord Triesman because he did something ill-advised. It’s an important principle that the FA should have an independent, non-executive chairman and they should go and recruit the best person for the job.”

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