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August 2021

Why the FA should remove itself from Fifa and ally itself with the Premier League

By John Ball
Greg Dyke running the FA and thinking that he is going to gather some power back from the Premier League is a bit like the island of Sark taking on the United States and thinking that the USA will give in.
Feudal states, which have overlordship and demand that their underlings show respect and pay their dues have no power once the underlings flex their own muscles.   The FA, a typical feudal body which treats its subjects with contempt.  The FA will themselves be treated with contempt when the chance arises.
The trouble with the FA is that it doesn’t realise how contemptuous of the clubs and their supporters it is not how much the tide has now turned against it.  It allies itself with the disgraceful Fifa organisation, and does their bidding, no matter what.  The FA demands players leave their clubs and plays for them – without any fear or worry that the player will be injured.  It doesn’t worry because the consequences of injury are negligible.
It puts out rubbish teams, because (as Untold showed two years ago and now all the press agree with) there are nowhere near enough coaches in this country.  That is why we are endlessly outperformed by the Netherlands with fewer clubs, fewer players, and a much lower quality home league.
There is a council running the FA that is so out of touch that it thinks ITV is a dangerous upstart in the TV game, and a board that endlessly fights each other over issues that no one else can ever understand.
The FA supported the founding of the Premier League to get one back at the hated Football League, and now the Premier League rules the roost.  Typical of a feudal state that thinks of any challenge, “They wouldn’t dare”.  The did dare, and now the FA is reduced to a pitiable state.

The reality is the Premier League now runs big time football and it is time for the PL to stand up to the FA on the issue of internationals.  The PL must demand that unless the FA lessens the requirement for players on crazy days, and accepts club analyses of when players can’t play, then all internationals are off. They could also do with the FA removing itself from the racist Fifa.  It might leave the FA isolated, but it would raise the flagpole of anti-racism so high other countries would be challenged to come and join.

The FA needs to stop attacking the Premier League and actually genuinely work with the PL  Then the FA could ask the PL to help it sort out the mess of the FA’s finances, largely because of the insanity of the Wembley finance model.

The FA subsidises the loans taken out to get Wembley built.  Meanwhile which of the turnips who paid £50k each for 10 year seats in Club Wembley will ever renew?  There are 17,500 such seats and people who want to sell the remaining part of their share find there are few takers for the last five years of the run, and no one is willing to pay the pro-rata price.  And when the new Wembley was planned did no one ever think that their might be activities in the Olympic Stadium, not to mention in the 02 or come to that even the occasional activity at the Emirates?  Wembley is losing money day on day, and there is no end in sight.

The FA really needs to join forces with the Premier League, and use Premier League methods to develop the English national team, playing at times which fit in with league schedules, without being part of Fifa.  In this way England could hold up its head and say, yes we stand against corruption and racism.

But most of all England needs coaches.  Lots and lots of them, with the highest possible qualifications.  They need to be supporting football by helping lower league clubs develop their coaching so that they can bring top players through.   They need to be developing the talent as it is developed in France, not grabbing it at 17 and playing the youngster in the England first team instead of in the right age group..

That is what the FA should do.  As to the government they should tell the FA: you have one year to prove that you can manage football, that you have a proper plan, and that you are not associated with any corrupt or racist organisations.
Finally the FA should distance itself from any sponsor that is associated with any unhealthy product, so that it is a sporting body that promotes healthy eating and drinking.
Only then will it start on the road back to credibility which it deserted so many years back.

14 comments to Why the FA should remove itself from Fifa and ally itself with the Premier League

  • Eddie

    Ahh a good article among the shite that is transfer gossip. Unfortunately, the government would never take control of such a thing, if this was a polo or croquet issue they would be all over it. I also think pay incentive for English players playing internationally would improve friendlies, and pay incentive for clubs would encourage them to develop internationals.

  • Adam

    Agree with most of the article, but would like to point out a conundrum; FIFA, UEFA and the FA’s of Europe train the coaches alongside the clubs, so whilst disliking them we all want more from them.

    I stated awhile ago that I wholeheartedly dislike FIFA or rather the people at the top of the Worlds governing body, UEFA I actually like but am aware of areas they need to improve upon, Our FA seemed lost and I have little hope for the association.

    A good read thank you.

  • nicky

    @John Ball,
    The penultimate paragraph of your article raises an interesting point. The possible intervention of HM Government.
    I could easily foresee the FA being unable to satisfy ANYONE that they are capable of managing English football, let alone distancing itself from the corruption that is FIFA.
    But what happens then? Parliament steps in with a quango to run our national game? It would be a nightmare.
    There is nothing wrong with the FA that an independent investigation wouldn’t sort out. Get rid of incompetence and any form of sharp practice. Create a robust, honest leadership that is clearly apparent to all and sundry.
    Demonstrate this by the FA seceding from FIFA immediately regardless of the effect. FIFA is so corrupt that other football organisations would, IMO, be sure to follow and a new era in world football would be born.

  • Ryan F

    We, how will seceding from FIFA help the national team exactly? I mean, once we’re out of FIFA, I doubt we’d be allowed to enter the World Cup. How does that help anybody?

    And I don’t see why you’re partially blaming the Premier League or Wembley for the woes of the FA. I mean, your argument might hold some water if England had been a football powerhouse in the 1970s to early 90s, but let’s face it, they weren’t.

    England were rubbish in so many pre-Premier League tournaments: Euro 92, Euro 88 are just two off the top of my head.

    With one or two obvious exceptions, England have ALWAYS lagged behind the major footballing powerhouses. OK so maybe we should be doing better than the less-populous Netherlands, but since when did population factor into footballing ability? I don’t see China, India, USA or Russia winning the World Cup any time soon, and they have much larger populations than England.

    On the one hand you’re complaining that the FA are weak, then in the same breath criticising them for fighting Premier League teams when they claim that players are conveniently injured just before a friendly?

    And I can’t believe you’re arguing that we fit international games into more convenient dates in the Premier League schedule! How selfish! It might surprise you to know that the Premier League isn’t the only competition in the world, and maybe we should consider the needs of other countries, too!

    If anything, the International calendar benefits us. We have a winter league, so the big tournaments always take place during the off-season. Plus, we always do well in the August international fixture, because our players are generally further into their season than their European counterparts, most of whom don’t begin their seasons until a few weeks after we do.

    Yes, Wembley cost more than it should have. Yes, FIFA are far from a bunch of saints. But that’s just stating the obvious.

  • nicky

    @Ryan F,
    Any football body seceding from such a corrupt association as FIFA will be doing the game a big favour. And I believe if the FA did this, others will follow.
    Even if they didn’t immediately, so what? The TOTAL absence of England on the international scene wouldn’t be tolerated for long, believe me.
    To accept the obvious as you imply is a weak attitude and not to be recommended.

  • ARSENAL 13

    I think it a chain reaction waiting to happen. One of them like FA pulling out will lead to others joining hands. I dont think most of them are happy with what FIFA is doing….

  • FIFA is truly corrupt. But I don’t think the F.A. or the Premier League has any solutions to world football because if you isolate yourself, you cannot test yourself against other national teams so as to know how good you are. UEFA may decide to also break away, but this will mean that the rest of the world would stick to FIFA. The world cup would be a watered down affair as Brazilian or Asian or African stars in big European teams may be forced to be just loyal to their clubs. This begs the ethical question behind breaking away from FIFA. UEFA national teams would be still playing their best players at the time they want. Unless UEFA allows other nations to participate in its competitions, FIFA is here to stay. Clubs should play their ‘novice players’ in some of their many cup competitions whilst FIFA should just enforce stricter refereeing whilst chanelling most of their funds to Youth development, especially in India and China. England can improve its squad by emulating Germany and Spain, who produce excellent players because of emphasizing perfecting skills and technique at a very early age. The Premier League prides itself for being physical, fast and having a great heritage. And before Arsenal started playing sexy football, most English teams were just playing route one footie — to just win through a rugged physical contest. P L teams are now in Asia to merely sell merchandise and not improve the playing quality in these countries. Both FIFA and big clubs are failing in improving the level of coaching and refereeing, which determines the quality and hazards of international competitions.

  • Rufusstan

    There are 3 key points here: what the FA should be doing, leaving FIFA, and the relationship between the FA and the Premier League.

    As with all things, you have to look at who has the power, and despite theoretically running the game, all the power in England is held by the Premier league (really the big clubs). Internationally, all the power is held by FIFA either directly or through UEFA. The FA is sadly in the middle and has been squeezed between them.

    The idea of leaving FIFA comes up now and again, but it is simply a non-starter. Somewhere in the archives you’ll find a detailed description I put together of what I think FIFA would do to any nation that broke away, but essentially they could destroy English football as it now stands.

    Under those circumstances the Premier League has far more to lose by supporting the status Quo than any exit from FIFA. The only possible way this could ever work would be a coup, many powerful nations simultaneously breaking away from FIFA, and that is not going to happen (logistics, many European nations not having our issues with FIFA, the way FIFA spends money, and so on).

    There are so many misconceptions about the PL and FA relationship. To start with, there may have been an element of getting back at the football league in the FA’s choices, but the PL was going to happen with them or without them, and they took the pragmatic approach.

    International breaks are imposed by FIFA, but the FA have to impose them. The sorts of squads we see highlights just how little power they have over the clubs — in the end there is very little they can do if the club has a plausible argument:– see Ferguson, Friendlies, Injuries. The clubs could flex their muscles further, but that will lead to a confrontation with FIFA instead of the FA and for that, see above.

    I’m not going to argue about the FA’s mistakes and problems. When you have a board where the youngest member is the honorary president (Prince William), the next youngest member is in his mid-fifties, and none of them have ever played professional football, they its going to be way out of touch.

    Equally, most of its current problems come from the new Wembley, and their need to pay off that white Elephant. As to the PL, why would they help with something thats of almost no relevance to them? Especially put in the context that at least 4 of the clubs are struggling to build stadia of their own.

    I agree completely with the idea of more coaches, but at over £1000 for a UEFA B course, and nearly 5 grand for a UEFA A, the FA’s need for cash is working against their stated goals. –And again the big clubs already have qualified coaches, which makes them helping a hard sell (if you give s the cash, we’ll train coaches for potential rivals….)

    In the end, you have to look at things differently, the FA imposes things on the clubs largely because they HAVE to, and they are mostly coming from on high. Equally, the FA doesn’t choose to ally with FIFA; it HAS to. Its basically caught in the middle with no real leverage over either side.

    By the way @nicky, while I’d love to see how the government would do in running football, FIFA’s rules on government in sport mean it wouldn’t end well for anyone. — See Cameroon

  • uk

    hear hear @ryan, couldnt have said it any better.
    @nicky, im sorry but if the english fa broke away, not even ths welsh or scottish FAs would join in. it would be a case of “thank God those arrogant pricks did us all a favor”. Tell me what happened after the english led whistle blowing scandal on fifa just before the votes for hosting rights for the 2018/22 worls cups? the world hates corruption, it also hates arrogance in probably equal measure

  • Bootoomee

    uk (@2.08pm),

    Totally agree with you. While I dislike fifa for their corruption, the English fa is just not relevant enough to effect any impactful boycott. Brazil, Germany, Italy, Argentina, Holland and Spain (at the moment) have more clout because of their successes and acumen. All that England have is arrogance and (at international competitions) noisy and regularly drunk fans.

    While I lived abroad, I know people who support each of the countries named above but no one that I know cared about England. Ironically, we all support English clubs. It is a big mistake to equate the FA or the English team with the premier league. The latter is beloved globally but not many care for the former.

    The empty arrogance and know-it-all attitude of the English does not help at all.

  • uk

    totally agree with you, and thats probably a first.

  • nicky

    Can’t help feeling that something must be done to restore a little more integrity into professional football. That’s all.
    The love of money has overtaken the love of the game.
    From my Gran (who cleans at the Emirates) who pinches the odd tin of Harpic to Rooney who slaps in a transfer request in order to get a pay rise…..they are all at it.
    And it’s got to stop.

  • Adam

    Bootoome, I hope your comment is confined to those at the FA and not a generalisation of how you perceive we English?

    Im trying to work out your comment and to not be offended?

    The timing of your comment couldn’t have come at a worse time, people of English heritage will take offence to that, today of all days.

  • fundi mangungu

    I totally agree on the young players like the ox etc being played for the national team instead of right age shows a defficiency of quality players at the top. Young players need to play with there agemates win a nd learn how to be winners early. The major tournaments glut experienced in England can end ig a new generation of winners comes from the youth tournaments. To which England has more than enough capable players