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The FA get the job done

Tuesday 25 November ~

Anyone browsing the job sections in the broadsheet press in recent weeks may have noticed an advertisement for the post of chief executive of the Football Association. The current holder of the post Brian Barwick leaves officially at the end of the year although he has had plenty of time to improve his golf handicap since the summer when he was relieved of most of his responsibilities by FA chairman Lord Triesman. The deadline for applications was last Friday with the candidate sifting being done by a headhunting firm called Nolan Partners who offer “executive search and selection in sport”.

In a doubtlessly doomed bid to forestall a postbag packed with unsuitable CVs, the advert states that “it is unlikely that anyone without a track record of running a substantial business or organisation will have the necessary experience to take on this role”. No such caveats will put off the delusional applicant, not least when they only appear in the eighth of 12 paragraphs in among babble about “complex multi-stakeholder environments”. 

But relevant experience may not count for much in any case. Brian Barwick had been head of sport at ITV sport yet by common consent he performed poorly in his FA role, notably in his negotiations over the most recent television contract for England games and the FA Cup, and in fumbling the appointment of Luiz Felipe Scolari as England coach in 2006.

There will be more new faces at the FA soon as they are also recruiting a chief operating officer (a title once held by Kevin Keegan when he worked at Fulham) for the 2018 World Cup bid. For the past six months this role has been performed by one of Barwick’s main allies at the FA, Simon Johnson, whose links to the outgoing chief executive make it unlikely that he will be kept on.

The FA's remunerations panel, who have to decide on the “significant six figure salary” that will be paid to the new chief executive, have also been asked to approve paying £200,000 per annum to the 2018 bid COO and a further £100,000 to the bid chairman, a job that will involve two days work per week and is expected to be performed by the multiple hat-wearing Lord Triesman. The 2018 bid staff will be moving from Soho Square to new offices at Wembley some time next year, once the role of chief executive in charge of relocations has been filled. An HGV licence will be required.

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