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A once in a generation chance to sort out the FA: so this is what I’ve done

By Tony Attwood

If you have (for reasons that need not become clear at this point) the habit of looking at the foot of an article before venturing in it, you will notice a series of links to other articles about the Football Association, each one on its own giving a reason why the FA should immediately be wound up and replaced by something a little less incompetent and stupid.

The list makes interesting reading – not because of its literary merit but because of the enormous cock-ups that the FA has been involved in, year by year.

And it is the length of this list that makes me think that maybe, just maybe, there is a slight recognition lurking around that this time even the bunch of people who endlessly protect the FA from serious enquiries into their own incompetence, by letting the FA investigate themselves, might have had enough.

For under pressure from the government the Football Association has commissioned what it claims will be an independent review to investigate the trouble which marred England’s Euro 2020 final defeat by Italy.

Now because we won’t see what’s what in terms of the full brief, we won’t know just how open the enquiry will be.  And certainly the way the enquiry has been described shows that the FA clearly expects the report to blame those members of the public who created havoc on the night, rather than those administrators who through their incompetence set up a situation that was bound to fail.

But maybe, just maybe, this time will acknowledge that the “disgraceful scenes” did not just happen on their own, or because a lot of drunken people decided out of the blue to act, but because of the overwhelmingly gross incompetence of the people who arranged events that night.

The FA put out a statement which read, “We are determined to fully understand what happened outside and then inside Wembley Stadium at the UEFA EURO 2020 Final on Sunday 11 July 2021.”

And that is worrying.  For not only is there a grammatical error within (it should be “We are determined fully to understand”) more to the point that set of terms of reference specifically excludes the question WHY.

As in, why did the chaos happen on this occasion, should it have been anticipated, what actions should have been in place to stop this, and why were those actions not implemented?

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But there is some wriggle room.  For they also say, “Baroness Casey of Blackstock has been commissioned to report on the facts and circumstances involved. [The enquiry] will speak to all parties concerned and include external experts…. A key emphasis of the findings will be to ensure that lessons are learned and such disgraceful scenes are never able to be repeated. We continue to work with the relevant authorities in support of their efforts to identify those responsible and hold them to account.”

So I’ve taken it upon myself to write to Lady Casey and ask if I can present evidence.  It might seem a long shot, and it probably is, but if the only people putting forward are the police and the FA, then one of the key issues will never be examined.

And that issue of course is the possibility that the FA themselves are, at least in part, to blame for the events at Wembley.

If I am allowed to present evidence then the case will, quite simply be this.

Over the years the FA has shown itself incapable of running football.   It has catastrophic finances, makes inept decisions, failed to deal with racism in the past, been threatened with closure, failed to communicate properly and failed utterly to deal with cases of the abuse of young men within football clubs.

And then of course I’ll go into details.

Obviously for me to have any impact is one hell of a long shot, but it does strike me one has to try, and indeed I have tried somewhat over the years on all sorts of issues.  For example way back in the early days of the pandemic various sports were allowed to start practising again, while most activities were still shut down.

However dancing was excluded because it is not considered a sport, although its practitioners need to practice and stay fit as much as anyone else.  More in fact since a very high percentage of people involved in dancing are older members of the community who are as entitled to their own chosen method of staying fit as younger people are.

I worked with my MP and we got dancing added to the list of activities that were able to open up again for training and practising. A tiny matter, and one that causes some amusement among those who imagine me as a ballerina (although my dance style is jive).  But very important to older members of the community.

So my first letter to Lady Casey asking if I can present evidence has gone forth, and if anything happens I’ll let you know.  It may well bring forth nothing, but if one doesn’t try, it is rather hard to argue that “nothing ever gets done”.

The Sweet FA and the corruption files

3 comments to A once in a generation chance to sort out the FA: so this is what I’ve done

  • Nitram

    Tony

    “And that issue of course is the possibility that the FA themselves are, at least in part, to blame for the events at Wembley.”

    Exactly. And straight away from reading their statement you can tell they simply do not believe this to be the case.

    For example:

    “A key emphasis of the findings will be to ensure that lessons are learned and such disgraceful scenes are never able to be repeated”.

    Shouldn’t that line read:

    “A key emphasis of the findings will be to ensure that lessons are learned and such INCOMPETENT ORGANISATION is never able to be repeated”

    And shouldn’t this:

    “We continue to work with the relevant authorities in support of their efforts to identify those responsible and hold them to account.”

    Read:

    “We continue to work with the relevant authorities in support of their efforts to identify those PEOPLE AT THE FA responsible and hold them to account”.

    As I say, you can tell straight away their intention is to lay the blame at someone else’s door, simply by the wording of their statement.

    I am and have been in the past, involved in a safety workshop at work. Most people deride such undertakings as at best ‘a waste of time’ or at worst ‘a joke’, but similar to yourself I believe if you don’t try…….

    I go in with my eyes open. I will not change the World. But if I can have even a small influence in getting a single safety measure implemented then it was worth it.

    So on that basis I wish you well on what of course could be a great deal of work for nothing, but you never know.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Nitram

    I would like to welcome Emile Smith-Rowe to the number 10 shirt.

    Congratulations and good luck Emile. I’m sure you will do the shirt proud.

  • John L

    Tony,

    I wish you success in your endeavour.

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