CEO Blog

CEO Blog 16-17

Issue 29

This week features governance reform, diving and new owners

The FA

Good governance

The FA’s Annual General Meeting this week ratified the governance reforms which had been previously supported by the FA’s Council.

This is great news for football, and great credit must go to the current FA leaders who have succeeded in delivering what was thought by many to be undeliverable governance reform. While it is acknowledged by many, not least FA Chairman Greg Clarke, that this must be the start and not the end of this process, the game at large should welcome the news. 

In Cambridgeshire, we have been going through our own local version of Council reform, with strong outcomes so far. The most exciting part is still to come, as we move to open up opportunities for new volunteers to get involved across all of our working groups.

Good governance for me means ensuring compliance with the relevant statutory regulations but it is much more than that. It means being open to new ways of working, involving others in problem solving to improve the game, and above all, finding innovative and flexible ways of delivering our goals on behalf of all stakeholders.

As a result of our ongoing Council review process, Cambridgeshire FA will now be able to bring in new people to sit on our Committees, either as regular or ad hoc members. They will have a say, but critically a vote too, which will provide the real influence, ownership and, I hope, positivity required to move the national game forwards in Cambridgeshire.

Dealing with diving

There was more big news from The FA Annual General Meeting in the form of the proposed clamp down on diving. BBC Sport provided interesting insight from Scotland on how this has worked north of the border.

There has been plenty of opinion offered up about whether retrospective action will work. For me it’s a bit like ‘sin bins’, in that it is refreshing to see innovative ideas actually being implemented to make the game better. In truth, we won’t know unless we try it.

New owners bring new (or false) dawn?

The Championship survival struggle on the final day of the (regular) season was in many ways the division’s awards ceremony for the ‘best worst owner’. The beleaguered fans of Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham City and Nottingham Forest all chewed nails, checked phones and shuffled anxiously to see if their club, all with ‘owner issues’, could survive the ordeal.

It was about right in the end, although tragic for the Rovers’ fans, that the Venkys took the prize of the worst owner of the three.

My club, Forest, now has a new owner in place, so naturally there will be great scrutiny to see if the errors of the outgoing owners can be avoided. Marinakis has passed the EFL’s ‘fit and proper person’s test’, so we should be ok then.

Time will tell, but keeping hold of key players, especially outstanding prospects from the club’s Academy will be a great indicator of the new owner’s motives. There are noises about fan engagement, reduced ticket prices and an effective structure off the field, so the prospects look brighter at least.  

Until next time.