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Will you attend any Checkatrade Trophy games next season?

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Review Or Whitewash?

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 16/11/2004

AN independent review of the Football Association will commence before the New Year says FA chairman Geoff Thompson, and Sir Andrew Foster; the former controller of the Audit Commission is tipped to chair the review.

Home > Features > 2004 Features > Review Or Whitewash?

He was the man who undertook the review of UK Athletics and made some very controversial recommendations, particularly regarding the Executive Officers.

So one can assume that he will not hesitate in doing the same with the FA if he feels it is necessary

So one wonders why the FA, are rushing to fill the role of Chief Executive Officer. The candidates they are looking at may well be suited to the FA as it is now, but if the review recommends significant changes, they might need another type of CEO who can see the changes through.

But that is typical of the FA, an organisation which leaps from one crisis to another simply because they have the wrong people pulling the strings.

It would be hoped that in the review, the allocation of TV money would be looked at particularly with the Premier League getting the most and even there the top 5 get almost 40% of it. Hardly a working model aimed at pursuing a successful future for the game.

It is doubtful that the FA would want to stray into those waters, as their obvious fear of the Premier would prevent them from rocking the financial boat. But someone sooner or later is going to wake up to the fact that the game is slowly dying on its feet with more and more clubs going into administration or folding.

A fairer distribution of the TV money and perhaps the re-introduction of gate fee sharing are vital to the long-term survival of the game.

It may take many years to happen but it could turn out one day that there would only be a few clubs left in the Football League and many fans around the nation could be seeing the departure of their own clubs and their football diet being served by watching football on Pay-As-You-View.

That may not happen in my lifetime but the indications are, that is the future of football, if radical changes do not take place.

The question is who can bring about those changes. It won't be the FA, It won't be FIFA but there is a chance that the fans can.

Football supporters are the largest single lobby group in football and have enormous powers, if only they knew how to use them. The two main representative groups, Supporters Direct and the Football Supporters Federation are doing their best to make changes but I cannot see either having the temerity or guts to initiate any real action for change.

So, until the government moves in, it will remain virtually the same, and clubs like the Darlingtons, the Wrexhams and the Grimsbys of this football world will continue to struggle to survive.

But at Grimsby, we are used to that! So nothing changes there!

There is a solution, as there is for any problem, but overcoming the greed factor will ensure that the task will not be easy. But pouring millions of pounds into a small section of the football community is not part of any long-term growth plan. It is the pathway to recession and we are part way down that path already!

In the next 10 - 20 years, football will not be like it is today, (it never is) and the MK franchise may well be repeated where clubs will move to other locations (probably to those areas where the local club has gone to the wall) to gain greater support in order to survive. And who can blame them? Survival is the order of the day!

We should be hoping that this review of the FA is far reaching and that it will finally bring some action to save the game. Unless it turns out to be another whitewash and we have had a few of those!

Someone needs to do something, as the buck passers say, But don't hold your breath waiting for the FA to act!

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