There is an advert in the Daily Express for jobs in the Department of Media Culture and Sport. That is the government department that controls the Football Association. The department’s position in supporting moderation and equality is somewhat undermined as it appears alongside the headline “MIGRATION WARNING: 50 million Muslims are willing to back violence and terror.”
Of course the Department of Media Culture and Sport is not responsible for the articles in the neo-fascist daily papers that British people buy, but they know what sort of articles these companies run. Worse, the readership profile of the Express is heavily biased towards the elderly and the unemployed. I am certain that when the government appoints people to the jobs on offer they will neither be of over retirement age nor unemployed. So, other than funding neo-fascism there is not much reason for advertising there.
But it is all part of the signage that tells us that rather than reform the governance of football in England, the government either can’t be bothered or is quite happy for things to get worse and worse. Maybe they think it will hide their difficulties in other areas. Well, actually, Europe, the only area of work they are engaged in at the moment.
Of course the FA might have noticed that the House of Commons passed a “no confidence” motion in football’s governing body’s ability to reform itself. Sadly since there were only 17 members of parliament out of the 650 elected to the chamber who could be arsed to vote (that is about 3%) you can see just how important all this is to the government and those who represent us.
The motion was proposed by the chairman of the culture, media and sport committee Damian Collins. Tracey Crouch, the utterly inept the sports minister who looks so far out of her depth it is a wonder she is still breathing, said she agreed the FA needed to make reforms, but argued the vote was premature because the FA has until the end of March to comply to one range of reforms – diversity.
Reading a speech clearly written for her she failed to mention just how many times the FA has failed to comply with diversity regulations, and somehow managed to ignore the fact that she had previously proposed cutting the millions of pounds of tax payers money she throws at the FA each year.
Meanwhile Kick It Out and the Football Supporters’ Federation are complaining to the Football Association over “unhelpful comments” made by one of its council members about reform within the game in England.
These comments were made by Ray Kiddell, an FA council member for 37 years, who said on BBC Radio 5 Live in response to questions about diversity, “we’ve got a Buddhist and a Muslim on the council. Now who else do we put on the council, a Jew?”
In response, the sports minister probably nodded a lot and said “good point well made”.
The problem is however Kick It Out and the FSF are still pointing at the bleeding obvious – that the FA is run by morons. Then they say, “It’s imperative the FA council become champions of equality. Unhelpful comments by representatives show a lack of understanding and highlight that education is needed. Kick It Out and the FSF will send a letter of complaint to the FA on this matter.” And what will happen? Nothing. Only when they join in the campaign to get the FA utterly and totally abolished and for England to withdraw from Fifa will we be able to make proper reforms.
Theoretically the FA could lose most of its £30m grant if it fails to reform by the end of March. But for that to happen someone would have to tell sports minister Tracey Crouch what her job is and I don’t think anyone wants to do this, in case she then moves to someone else’s department.
As Marina Hyde wrote in the Guardian, “At times, it feels as if the sole dynamic in British public life is one body accusing another body of being in existential crisis, in order to divert attention from its own existential crisis. And yes, of course that includes newspapers.” I think I’ve made a similar point once or twice, although Ms Hyde always manages a far better turn of phrase than me even if I don’t always agree with her.
Here’s another excellent comment from the same writer:
“Back in December, you may recall, five elderly white men who used to be big at the FA wrote to parliament to explain that the FA was culturally incapable of reform because of elderly white men.” A perfect summary. Greg Clarke, the FA Chairman, has said he will step down if reform is not instituted. And he will be replaced by…
Of course the FA is not the only sporting body riddled with such gross incompetence that if it were a business it would not only be bankrupt but the directors would be imprisoned and upon release ordered never ever to go within 100 miles of any other organisation ever again. Athletics, rugby union, equestrianism and yachting are just four English sporting arenas that are totally screwed up. (But it doesn’t matter because athletics is run by Baron Coe, CH, KBE, FRIBA, whose closest aide Nick Davies was sacked after admitting taking £26,000 cash payments from son of IAAF president Lamine Diack. And a man who was on the IAAF Council which clearly knew about doping and the non-enforcement of applicable anti-doping rules for years and did nothing about it. That man was Baron Coe, CH, KBE, FRIBA.
Now I must admit I do have a second reason why I want the government to intervene in the chaos and catastrophe that is the FA beyond saving £30m of tax payers’ money. While Fifa openly promotes corruption in all its forms (setting up model agencies for regional associations to copy in this regard) it gets a bit worked over governments doing anything about it.
So if the government interfered with the FA by sacking everyone involved, Fifa would then suspend England, and we would have got rid of our engagement with the heart of corruption and the heart of incompetence all at the same time.
Then all we would have to do is sort out athletics.
Arsenal History Books on Kindle
The novel “Making the Arsenal” by Tony Attwood which describes the events of 1910, which created the modern Arsenal FC, is now available for the first time on Kindle. Full details are here.
Also available on Kindle, “Woolwich Arsenal: the club that changed football” the only comprehensive history of the rise of Arsenal as a league club, and the attempts to destroy the club, from within and without. For full details please see here.