CEO blog

CEO Blog 17-18

Issue 16

This week features Wembley for sale, Liverpool restoring European glories and our CFA Safeguarding assessment


Wembley for sale?  

You know it’s a big football story when it hits the news section, and that’s what has happened this week with the offer from Fulham owner Shahid Khan to buy Wembley Stadium from The FA. Khan is hopeful of a quick conclusion to the deal:

There has been a mixed reaction to this proposal, both in the press and direct from football supporters around the country.

I’ll come at this from the point of view of grassroots football. The BBC reported that ‘selling Wembley would allow the FA to make a major investment into football at grassroots level.’ This could be a game changer for our game.

Of course the devil is always in the finer detail, however if the impact of the sale is minimal to the game, it has to be worth pursuing. It is expected that Wembley will both retain its name and place as the historic home of football, with England fixtures and flagship events such as The FA Cup Final continuing in Brent.

The FA has been prudent in reducing debt on financing Wembley, and this would not only clear that debt in one fell swoop but also generate significant scope to invest widely in the game.

I would happily spend some of that money by establishing a football development centre in each county. The benefits to the game in terms of improving the experience of those playing affiliated football would be huge. We need to play more matches on 3G pitches to avoid everything that the great British winter throws at us.

Moreover a facility for the community, with football as a focus, would do so much to increase activity, and as a result the health of our nation. Multiply this by 50 in terms of the number of County FA’s, and there we would have the game changer for grassroots football.

Champions League

Liverpool back to the future?

You may have seen the ITV4 programme, ‘When English Football Ruled Europe’ which aired over Easter. This made captivating viewing for football fans in this country. Without getting too nostalgic, it was another excuse for long suffering Forest, and to varying extents no doubt Aston Villa and Liverpool supporters, to relive former glories:

Sadly it was also a reminder of the dark years when a minority of hooligans were intent on causing trouble in and around football grounds. The scenes at Anfield this week were just as alarming, when a small group of Roma ‘fans’ attacked home supporters. I thought these days were long behind us 

Understandably Liverpool FC is seeking clarity regarding travel and safety information for the return leg next week:

It was an amazing first leg on the field, and I really hope that Liverpool can be rewarded for their enterprising brand of football by getting to the final and winning it, providing a further reminder of those heady days in the late 70s and early 80s.

This will of course be followed by history repeating itself and Forest getting promoted next season, winning the Premier League the year after, and the Champions League for 2 successive years after that.

OK forget that last bit of fairy tale thinking, but my genuine hope is that whatever happens next week in Rome is trouble free for everyone.

Safeguarding Operating Standard passed

We’re immensely proud at Cambridgeshire FA to have passed the Independent Assessment of our practices in Safeguarding children in football in our county. This was a rigorous process which examined 7 different areas of our work.

At the right time we will share the outcomes of the visit in detail, but to achieve a pass at the first visit is an achievement we are proud of.

I can share that the assessors found that ‘Cambridgeshire has fully embedded safeguarding within its governance structures and operational practices…and that the staff have worked extremely hard to ensure they are maintaining the requirements of each of the standards and …for making playing football in Cambridgeshire safer’.

This last comment is the most important one.

Until next time.