The Football Association has until April – under new standards for sports governance introduced by government in October 2016 – to have an executive board with at least 25% of its directors being independent. Failure to comply means that the FA stands to lose the £30 million it receives from Sport England.
Though this £30 million is a drop in bucket compared to the commercial revenues the FA earns, this further failure of good corporate governance is an easily avoided own goal and symbolic of deeper ongoing executive board malaise at the Football Association according to non-executive directorship expert Gerry Brown.
Showing little urgency about governance reform, the FA executive team met last week to discuss reform proposals they intend to present at next month’s FA Council meeting. With their track record of botched governance and reform, few expect revolutionary changes at the Football Association.
Independent directorship evangelist Gerry Brown demands a red card for FA Chairman Clarke over ongoing governance own goals. "The consequences of not having a strongly independent and effective Board to run our national game are enormous. Millions of ordinary supporters and the grass roots of the sport in this country has been so badly let down. Though Football Association Chairman Greg Clarke is still comparatively new in his position, he has already quickly become a proven gifted own-goal scorer when it comes to board governance basics. Consultation with properly independent non-executive directors is critical in helping Chairmen across the UK run their boards and businesses professionally. Yet, with Mr. Clarke already on a board governance yellow card over the lack of due diligence prior to the appointment of Sam Allardyce (let alone the supine handling of his dismissal), he is now putting £30 million from Sport England in jeopardy by failing to have sufficient independent non-execs in his FA board executive team! If Mr. Clarke fails to avoid the loss of this £30 million, it would be an easily avoidable self-inflicted scandal for which he bears full responsibility. £30 million would make a significant difference to grass roots football in this country or, indeed, help put further oomph into many areas that urgently demand attention, whether it is schools football or child protection. While it is important to consult all interested parties, the key parameters of good governance are not rocket science. If he continues to attend to FA board level governance in this manner – believing the board gegenpresses when it can barely pass or dribble - Greg Clarke deserves to be given the early bath he gave Allardyce unless he can find additional capable and independent non-executive directors quickly.”