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FA Structural Review - The League's Position

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 04/05/2005

THE Football League have published their response to Lord Burns who is conducting a structural review of the English Football Association.

The League states;

Given the fact that The Football League is the largest professional League in the World both in terms of its number of member clubs and its aggregate attendances, the structure of the FA needs more accurately to reflect the importance of the League's position within English football. This should be demonstrated by its representation on the FA Council and the FA Board as well as its Committees.

Specific Recommendations


  • 1. The FA is governed by the FA Council. The Football League believes that the Council should continue to be the ultimate legal entity, with provision for all major football stakeholders to have significant representation. In addition to miscellaneous stakeholders the Council should have parity between members drawn from the counties and the professional leagues.

  • 2. This redesigned Council should have an advisory and consenting role and the ability to require the main Board to "think again" on the basis of a significant majority wishing it to do so. This would ensure that the Council retains the ultimate right of veto as well as its existing legal position.

    FA and Stakeholder Boards

  • 3. As the body with overall executive decision-making power, the FA Board should have the day to day responsibility for formulating, overseeing and guiding FA policy and its strategic direction together with their implementation.

  • 4. The main FA Board should comprise representatives from football's three principle stakeholder groups, i.e. the National Game, the FA Premier League and The Football League together with representation from a Board which would be responsible for the FA's major properties (England/FA Cup). The Board should be independently chaired and the possibility of an additional independent membership element should be seriously considered.

  • 5. We believe that, as a matter of principle, a reconstructed FA should embrace the philosophy and policy of devolved administration and responsibility wherever practicable. In other words each of the three major stakeholders with specific football responsibility should be empowered to run their competitions, to the highest standards, subject to the overriding direction of the FA Board.

  • 6. At present the FAPL and Football League are organised as discreet entities with their own Boards of governance within the overall structure of football. A major consequence of No. 5 above is our belief that the National Game's administration and management should be constituted on lines similar to those which govern the FAPL and Football League - in a form most appropriate to the needs of the National Game. The ensuing autonomy would strengthen the National Game and it's standing in football and help clarify and advance relationships between the three main football stakeholders.

  • 7. We believe that the main football stakeholders should develop their own form of management, and operational and commercial responsibility should be delegated to them wherever practicable.

    8 At present the FA Council and FA Board can appoint Committees. In future we believe that power to appoint Committees should be exercised by the Board or by the main football stakeholders using their delegated powers.

  • 9. The FA Board should retain the ability to hold to account the three main football stakeholders for the delegated decisions which they have taken.

  • 10. The Football League believes that the conduct of football on and off the field, and the public perception of the game, would be enhanced and improved if issues of regulation, governance and discipline, which should remain the responsibility of the FA, were subject to an element of independent oversight.

  • 11. The FA Board should retain the responsibility of interfacing with FIFA and UEFA on behalf of English football.Finance

  • 12. The FA generates income in four primary forms - income from the England National team, the FA Cup Competition, from Commercial partnerships and from the media. The main Board should establish an agreed division of these proceeds to be allocated between the main football stakeholders, including the FA itself.

  • 13. All revenue and capital flows, including those between stakeholders, should be transparent, with appropriate mechanisms for accountability

  • 14. A mechanism for changing the financial distribution arrangements needs to be established at the outset, be rigorously applied and be capable of implementation only by agreed procedures.

  • 15. Each Board responsible for organising or managing football and its competitions, from the FA Board down, should be required to establish two annual budgets, the first for running their organisation and the second for providing support services to their own respective stakeholders.END

    The Football League

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