The masters of failure and ineptitude; but why are supporters having to pay for their errors?

By Tony Attwood.

One of the great consquences that there might be if Fifa falls is that the FA, a big supporter of Fifa, of Jack Warner and of Platini, might fall down into the hole with them.

It doesn’t matter whether it has been the FA’s inability to deal with Richard Scuadmore’s sexist commentary on women, or its oh so close relationship with Jack Warner, its cozying up to Fifa by bidding for its tournaments and supporting Platini, or its inability to handle the Dr Carneiro affair, the FA fails.  It always fails.

Just cast your mind back to Greg Dyke, chair of the FA, contemplating the Richard Scudamore emails.  Dyke described them as “totally inappropriate” but then said they were “private emails exchanged between colleagues and friends of many years.”

Indeed Dyke wrote to Edward Lord, a member of the FA’s inclusion advisory board who was the only person asking the questions that should be asked, saying “our policy has always been that we do not consider something stated in a private email communication to amount to professional misconduct.”

Then in September 2014 Edward Lord was sacked by the FA for “failing to support his colleagues”.  Or asking interesting questions as we might say.

This is how it has always been with the FA.   Take for example the time last year the Daily Mail ran a big story about “A group of footballers suspected of being involved in match-fixing are playing at English clubs with the knowledge of the Football Association.”

The FA apparently admitted to the paper that they had a ‘watch list’ of active players ‘of interest’ who, but said they cannot prevent them playing.  The matter seems now to have gone away.

If we were wondering what the FA was trying to hide, in June this year the Mail on Sunday, who seem to have gone out on their own in exploring what the FA is up to, announced in a headline, “FA fear FBI probe with troubling questions in FIFA scandal after schmoozing former vice-president Jack Warner, a trip to Prince Charles’ home and a £135,000 sweetener.”

Warner is still avoiding extradition to the US, and as long as he does, the FA might be safe from questions about what he “warm relations” with the FA amounted to.    Certainly in the preliminaries to the disgraceful waste of money that could have been spent on grass roots football known as the 2006 world cup bid, Jack Warner came to England, and according to the Mail, was taken by the FA on a “special flight to Manchester, where he was a guest of honour at Old Trafford.”   He then flew to a government dinner in his honour hosted by Chris Smith, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

“It was a lavish occasion in private rooms at the Tower of London. The FA then laid on a helicopter for Warner, who hopped aboard with Sports Minister Tony Banks and took a sightseeing trip across the capital…

“An official FA report later spoke of the ‘warm relations’ by then established between Warner and FA chairman Geoff Thompson.   So warm, in fact, that the very same trip, the FA said, ‘resulted in the signing and issue of a declaration of intent under which the FA, over a five-year period, would extend further help with the development of football in the Caribbean and Central America’.”

So how much did this “initiative” cost?  We don’t know but it was followed up by the FA (which recently made a third of its staff redundant in an attempt to escape from its escalating financial problems which may well have had their root in this sordid relationship) wrote off “a £135,000 debt owed to the FA by friends of Warner at the Jamaica FA.”

Warner then got England to play a friendly in Trinidad against his national team.  The Trinidad & Tobago Football Federation earned millions from ticket sales and TV rights for a game.

According to the Mail on Sunday newspaper, “One former high-ranking FA insider told the MoS: ‘I know the FBI are going to come after us. It’s just a matter of time’.”   And the point is therefore that when Warner does get forced to America deals like this will come up.  Untold awaits with interest.

The problem with the FA is however not just its rank stupidity, and its rampant sexism.  Like all debased organisations it simply never knows when to stop.

For example Prince Charles when paying an official visit to Trinidad spent time with Warner and his friends at the FA’s behest.   Warner has also been to Prince Charles’s Highgrove House according to the Mail, and the FA requested Prince Charles’s son William as well as David Cameron and Beckham to cozy up to FIFA’s executive (the bunch now awaiting extradition to the US) in Zurich.

Even more obscenely in May 2000, the FA got the British ambassador to Washington, Sir Christopher Meyer, to visit New York and lobby… Chuck Blazer – one of the most appalling men in the affair and one of the men who has already pleaded guilty.

Meanwhile the FA apparently “sponsored a $55,000 (£35,000) gala dinner for the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) which the summary of Michael Garcia’s FIFA corruption probe said was to ‘curry favour’ with Warner.”

Given this disgusting background it is perhaps not surprising that the FA has been pathetic and hopeless at doing even the simple things it should be doing, like organising grass roots football or standing up for Dr Carneiro against Chelsea.   But then grass roots football and Dr Carneiro have one thing in common – they don’t offer backhanders and they are afraid of people who shout at them.  It will not act against José Mourinho over Dr Carneiro.

FA director Heather Rabbatts said on this matter,  “We have to look within the FA at the processes and we will do so in the forthcoming weeks….   The FA’s reaction to the treatment of Dr Eva Carneiro has been seriously disappointing. I have major concerns over the way in which the disciplinary process has been conducted and the lack of an organisational response to the wider issues raised by this case.

“A highly respected medic, a woman at the top of her profession in football, has been mistreated, undermined, verbally abused and yet no one apart from Dr Carneiro has faced significant consequences.”

Meanwhile the Women in Football campaign group (whose leader recently addressed the AGM of Arsenal Independent Supporters Assn) submitted expert evidence that it said showed Mourinho was specifically targeting Carneiro with sexist abuse when he exploded in fury as she and another medic, Jon Fearn, entered the pitch to treat Hazard.

But guess what.  The FA said its own independent expert found no evidence Mourinho had specifically targeted Dr Carneiro.   Which presumably means he just abuses everyone.

Dr Carneiro has said that she has never been requested by the FA to make a statement about her constructive dismissal, adding “I wonder whether this might be the only formal investigation in this country where the evidence of the individuals involved in the incident was not considered relevant.”

The FA said they had written to Dr Carneiro’s lawyers.   So that is the classic FA get out.  “We wrote to them.  What more can we do?”   (My answer is that they should produce the recorded delivery counterfoils they would have got from Royal Mail when they posted the letter.  That’s what I do when I am called upon to show I’ve written to someone.)

Meanwhile, the work that the FA should be doing, doesn’t get done, so others pick up the pieces. For example, in response to the total failure of the FA to engage properly in the schools sport programme the Premier League has now agreed to pick up the pieces and is discussing setting up a grassroots sport fund with the government.  And that means in the end, this is where some of our ticket money is going.  I don’t begrudge paying for school sport, but I do think we could first use the money that would be saved by winding up the FA and letting Untold run affairs from the spare bedroom in my house.  We’d do a better job.

The school sport programme operates in 4,158 of the 26,100 schools in England, and the Premier League wants to take this up to 10,000 schools in the next three years and 21,000 within six years.

The programme offers PE lessons and teacher training which the government fails to provide through its funding of schools.  The prime minister, a Mr David Cameron, said, “Every child should have the opportunity to play sport, benefit from great coaching and be part of a team,” while failing to add “but despite taking in record sums in taxation, the state isn’t going to pay for it – although we will probably come to the rescue of the FA when the shit really hits the fan.  After all, we’ve been instrumental in supporting people like Warner and the rest of them, for years.”

From the Anniversary Files

8 October 1930: Arsenal won the Charity Shield for first time beating Sheffield Wednesday in a match played at Stamford Bridge in front of 25,000.  Reported in some volumes as 1931.

8 October 1932: Final appearance of Tom Parker – the club’s first trophy winning captain.  He became player manager of Norwich City and took them to the championship in 1933/4.

Untold campaigns


22 Replies to “The masters of failure and ineptitude; but why are supporters having to pay for their errors?”

  1. Brilliant piece Tony!!

    I can’t wait for this lot of corrupt pricks to go down – deep in dungeons and stay there for a very long time!!!

    Politicians, FA,FIFA,UEFA, PGMOB: All need to be shut down and their operators behind bars!

  2. On another topic of CHEATS; The Dinamo Zagreb player testing positive – doping – how surprising for a corrupt setup!

    Could they have more then one player doped up…if so would the be kicked out of CL?

  3. I love this site and Im vdry grateful you bring into open the dark deeds of football corrupt fat cats. It may be an ungrateful task but people like me are very grateful.

  4. Tony,
    One of your best treatises indicting the FA over much of what is obscene in football governance today.
    I cannot forget the recent alleged spending of no less than £25m by the FA in a failed attempt to obtain a World Cup venue for Britain.
    The fact that that sort of money should be spent, presumably on monetary and other gifts and entertainment, should have sounded alarm bells throughout the right-minded members of the FA….if there are any.

  5. Maybe the British Medical Council or Association at the behest of the Gibraltar Health Authority (GHA) come to the assistance of Dr Eva Carneiro and lodge a case or report against Moanin’inho , citing that while she acted in all good faith in carrying out her duty , the vile one was attempting to induce her to abandon her revered Hippocratic Oath . And calling her parentage into question to boot !
    I’m sure there would be someone out there who would love to take on this case just to see that creep squirm . I can just see in my mind’s eye – him trying to be funny , witty and all evasive , but not getting his usual fawning admiration from those dour Lordships !
    Every of his moronic answers and facial extravagances would be followed by a sharp retort of , ” We are NOT amused !” Followed by pandemonium in court and them Lordships shouting , ” Order ! Order !” And the fool gleefully saying , ” A gin and tonic M’lud !”

    Followed by the slamming of a heavy door and the throwing away of the key . Ahhhhh !

  6. This is a very well researched and well constructed piece. As always, when corruption and ineptitude at football’s governing bodies are revealed, the mind boggles. Just as with the banking collapse, the public ends up paying in tax. The difference here is that these organisations may be revamped or abolished and replaced with sensible ones. Let’s hope so, it can’t come a day too soon!

  7. The FA are a disgrace on so many levels, at best, weak, spineless, at worst, a willing part of a corruption that some believe goes on in English football.
    Is it just me, or does someone in the powers that be seem to be looking after the interests of Chelsea…falsely accuse a ref of racism, nothing happens, some very strange refereeing appointments and performances…one ref with a suspiciously favourable record for them, yet he officiates for them time and time again, (like Dean does for us) then, a refusal to put the English version of FFP in place, and now, perhaps worst of all, the doctor.
    I am surprised the government dont do more to take on the FA, or maybe they are just hanging them out to dry, like many of us, hoping their day or reckoning is just around the corner

  8. @Tony the prick Mourinho has paid all the magwampas in the FA(Fuckin Assholes) and i doubt if Dr Carneiro will ever get any justice.Its a pity but as you always told us years ago that one day FIFA will be in shit we are just waiting when those morons will be struck down.Most of your wise words come to pass.

  9. I am going off topic on my own post (and have already told myself off for doing so).

    Walter’s article on Coquelin has been picked up by and re-published by them (with permission of course from Untold).

    Not only a nice vote of thanks from the club to Walter (who as you may know is chair of Arsenal Belgium) but also great for Untold because there is a link in the site back to us, which really helps Untold along.

    Congrats Walter.

  10. Brilliant piece Tony, would it be better to get a petition to get rid of the FA? Like with Mike Dean? So more people are aware?

  11. OT1: See the WOB’s “Vengah ahht!” demo on Sunday before the MU match marshalled a whole 9 supporters! At what stage do you accept that you are wrong and the overwhelming majority are right?

    OT2: See that Blatter, Valcke and Platini have all been suspended by FIFA. It just becomes more surreal by the day.

  12. Congratulations on the Coq article, which may well be read by the man himself!

    As for FIFA, wonder if the Korean Dr Chung is trustworthy? Apparently he has a long history of laying into Blatter, he claims he is now being framed as a result of this. Hard to trust any of them, but has certainly said some good things in the last few days, would love to see Blatter on the end of a law suit as he sits in a cell…..assuming he is found guilty of the things we think he is of course

  13. Great article again.

    Where you have vast sums of money you get corruption.We should also consider that for a lot of Countries, bribes are just a way of life. When you have those nations playing a big role on deciding who gets what, you have a recipe for diaster.

    As for the FA?

    I suspect it’s like drugs in sport. A lot of people go along with it because they think they have to or get left behind.

    The FA knew how FIFA worked so they played teh game. Unfortunately, we are rubbish at it and the FA were taken as mugs. I am not saying that is right but if you haven’t got any balls and you still want to enjoy the freebies, that’s what happens.

    Hardly a surprise that FIFA is bent, they have been a standing joke for years.Warners had his ugly snout in the trough with Blatters blessing and Blatter was groomed by the Mastermid Haveland 40 odd years ago. Look at the IOC.

    The situation about Dr Carneiro stinks. Everyone knows what happened. I find it odd that Greg Dyke had to speak out so strongly against his own organisation, he was clearly not a happy bunny.

    With the situation with PGMOL, when you add all this up does anyone really have any co0nfidence in the FA as an organisation?

    Pete. Four of the WOB’s were standing with their flag above the armoury but nobody paid any attention. They are just a loud minority who the media give unequal airtime to. I know loads of fans who get frustrated at times, we all do, but I dont actually know any that want Wenger replaced.

  14. Breaking News:

    Platini and Blatter banned.

    Incredible, this story just keeps on giving.

    Football is as bent as a nine bob note (a very old phrase that I always return to!). Do we have anything to worry about closer to home? I have always wondered.

  15. Blatter, Platini, Valke banned, Hayatou now Acting FIFA President. From frying pan to fire?

    Aò tíì kó Ifá nlè, Ifá tì’n se (The Oracle is yet to conclude, the prophecy is already being fulfilled)

  16. Tony,
    another great article. There is no doubt the FA´s actions will become ever more closely scrutinized in the FIFA and Jack Warner case, now that it has gone to the courts, and some heads will fall because of that, but the whole modus operandi of the organisation needs to change, as evidenced by the disgraceful response to Dr Carneiro´s treatment and the many other failures. Untold is absolutely right to keep linking these seemingly disparate affairs and reminding everyone that the common link is the incompetence and corruption that characterizes the FA. They need to be indicted first in the court of public opinion.

    As for the Blatter, Platini and Valcke suspensions, let´s not be fooled. The fact that they got 90-day bans is better than complete inaction, but compare that to the 6-year punishment of Chung Mong-joon, and it becomes clear the ethics committee was just attempting damage control, now that the entire world is watching. Add to that the fact a lot less has transpired about the supposedly nefarious actions concerning South Korea´s bid to host the 2022 World Cup for which Chung was condemned than about the Qatar scandal and its veritable mountain of evidence (Hayatou by the way was formally identified and accused by a whistleblower of receiving more than a million dollars in bribes), and it incites to even more vigilance. Twisted institutions won´t willingly relinquish power.

  17. With Blatini out of the picture for at least 90 days and hopefully forever, maybe Mike Riley would be the ideal candidate to lead FIFA?
    How embarassing for the FA, they endorse a guy one week, while knowing he is under threat of suspension. What do those spineless fools that ruin, sorry, run our game do now?

  18. Do we now owe a vote of thanks to the US, a nation not noted for its interest and prowess* at football, for its judicial will in pursuing the odious Blatter et al?

    *except when playing England.

  19. Tony this is an important well written and well argued post for which we should thank you. So why on earth did you let it end with a sour taste?

    Saying “a Mr David Cameron” is a silly and regrettable aside which can only be intended to demean and belittle our Prime Minister. Cheap and irrelevant. On the assertion “despite taking in record sums in taxation” where is this evidence based, I certainly have not seen it?

    You are an intelligent and fiscally aware person who runs your own business. You should not need telling that the the expenditure side needs equal attention. Certainly if your company had record deficits carried forward together with eye-watering interest costs as a consequence, then you would be giving your highest priority to putting the situation right.

    Much as I would enjoy it, I don’t this blog is the appropriate place for indulging in wider political discourse. So could I ask you to avoid the temptation and unless it is an important and relevant feature let’s keep our personal political biases out of this blog.

  20. It amazes me that with all the investigations and the inevitable impending removal of both Blatter and Platini, the calls are for strong leadership of FIFA, UEFA etc. Surely what is needed is the destruction of these bodies to be replaced with bodies fit for running a sport in the 21st century and not some extension of pre Renaissance feudal rule for the most popular sport on the planet.
    Perhaps a return to an understanding that equality isn’t fairness too, so that the footballing authority of Vanuatu, for example, doesn’t have an equal vote with, for example, that of Germany. This is exactly how Bloatter has managed to build up his corrupt organisation; through providing more power and money to vassals in the organisation, subawning democracy in the name of fairness when all it really is is ensuring small nations have a disproportionate vote in comparison with their input to the game in return for the people at the top of those associations being paid off.

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