CEO Blog

CEO Blog 16-17

Issue 20

FA Screenshot - blog 20

FA reform more likely ‘whimper’ in parliament

The big story of the week, before the event at least, was the motion debated in Parliament concerning The FA’s capability to deliver reform to its governance. The Guardian’s David Conn captured the event perfectly, describing ‘Parliament’s 17-vote censure for FA is more a whimper than a roar’.

I thought that Greg Clarke, The FA Chairman, tackled the Parliament debate head on, and his statement prior to Thursday’s motion demonstrated his resolve to deliver the type of reform that is widely acknowledged as being both needed and overdue.

Clarke openly accepts the need for change: ‘Our governance needs changing. We do need to be more diverse, more open about decision-making and we do need to better represent those playing the game.’ This has been said before, but what I see this time is a leadership team in Clarke and Chief Executive, Martin Glenn, who have the determination and skills to deliver change.

The governance work is a crucial part of that, but their mission extends to delivering game changing outcomes for the grassroots game by significantly increasing participation (in the female game in particular), and also developing the technology required to engage with players and volunteers alike in this digital age.

There is a lot to do, but from what I have seen I am of the view that both the governance reform and strategic outcomes will be delivered to set the nation’s game on the required track. 

Grassroots Opportunities greater than ever

While the focus of the media storm was firmly on the Parliamentary debate, there was a storm of a different kind on Twitter with grassroots football looking to demonstrate that the game does have lots to be positive about. This was shown as the County FA’s, including Cambridgeshire, tweeted about their work.

I saw the following areas mentioned, to name but a few:

  •  Participation growing in new areas and formats of the game
  • Facilities being improved with FA/ Football Foundation funding
  • Coaches being qualified
  • Representation at local levels being widened with Youth Councils and Inclusion Advisory Groups
  • Referee coverage and development
  • Club support through mentoring
  • Recognition for volunteers
  • More Safeguarding work than any other sport

This list went on…

To highlight a couple of our own local opportunities, look no further than a varied offer for disability groups, including the chance for players to access the FA talent pathway:

The second area worth noting is Futsal, with a series of events coming up this month:

There is lots still to do at both local and national level, but it is worth highlighting that while the traditional game faces serious challenges, and acknowledging issues with governance, there have never been more opportunities for players and volunteers alike to get involved and to take part on their terms.

Until next week.