‘Conflicts of interest’ behind Watmore’s FA exit

LONDON - Ian Watmore’s shock resignation as chief executive of England’s governing Football Association has been blamed on an organisation “riven with conflicts of interest” by a former senior FA figure.

By (AFP)

Published: Tue 23 Mar 2010, 8:16 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 4:21 AM

Watmore stepped down on Monday, having only been appointed just over a year ago and in post for a matter of months.

His exit led the FA to call an emergency board meeting at their Wembley headquarters on Tuesday amidst speculation his departure could damage England’s bid to stage the 2018 World Cup.

Former FA executive director David Davies said the fact Watmore was the fifth FA chief executive to quit in just over a decade was an example of the “chronic instability inherent in the way English football is run”.

Davies, who had several spell as the FA’s acting chief executive, told Sky Sports News on Tuesday: “Like a lot of people, I was very impressed by how Ian Watmore had begun.

“He had only been in the job effectively since last June. The reality is the FA has now lost five chief executives in little more than a decade. Most of them, in my view - Ian Watmore is just the latest, it seems - have been victims of the chronic instability inherent in the way English football is run.”

Although the FA remains the English game’s governing body, there is a widespread perception it has lost much of the power it once wielded to the lucrative English Premier League.

Its board now includes three senior Premier League figures in Premier League chairman Dave Richards, Bolton chairman Phil Gartside and Manchester United chief executive David Gill.

It has been reported that Watmore fell out with Richards, something the latter denied to Sky on Tuesday, and was frustrated at being “neither a chief nor an executive”.

Davies added: “The structure builds in-conflict, which is hardly surprising given it is riven with conflicts of interest and people’s roles and responsibilities are either blurred, or not defined at all, or worse still set up in competition with each other.

“If an organisation loses five chief executives in little more than a decade you can’t really believe they were not all up to the job.

“There has to be something fundamentally not right and I think there is a huge challenge here for the FA board.

“They have to admit there is a problem and ask themselves ‘what are we going to do about this?’”

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