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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 November, 2004, 21:36 GMT
The impossible job
By Matt Majendie

Former FA chief executive Mark Palios
Mark Palios resigned as FA chief executive in August
On Thursday ITV controller of sport Brian Barwick was appointed the new chief executive of the Football Association.

Barwick was handed the new role in charge of English football's governing body, three-and-a-half months after Mark Palios resigned from the post.

BBC Sport takes a closer look at the FA's past problems, those who have tried but failed in the role, and what powers, if any, Barwick will have.


The FA has been plagued by in-fighting for much of the last decade, under a variety of bosses.

A plethora of spats have led to the downfall of previous chief executives, with club-versus-country rows and arguments over the FA chief's powers central to much of the debate.

Today, the FA is a far slicker, smoother operation than it used to be, but for much of the 90s it was stuck in the past and too often accused of being a stuffy, old-fashioned body.

A graphic of what the new Wembley will look like
The cost of Wembley plagued Adam Crozier's tenure

Financial problems have also been a major factor during its existence, which have recently been distinctly improved.

Undoubtedly the greatest money furore surrounded the Wembley stadium plan, which eventually totalled a staggering 757m and also led to major criticism in the media.

That and the much-flaunted, but never delivered, 50m National Football Centre led to further accusations of over-spending.

Graham Kelly's time (1988-1998) at the helm of the FA was overshadowed by the cash-for-votes scandal. He and chairman Keith Wiseman eventually resigned over the matter.

Kelly was accused of offering the Welsh FA a 3.2m grant in return for its vote in a Fifa election. Fifa launched an inquiry during which both men were cleared.

There was also a failed bid to host the 2006 World Cup, which was criticised in the British press for being "shambolic".

And some of their coaching appointments have hogged the headlines for much of the time. There was Graham Taylor's failed spell in charge of the national side, not to mention the scandal which led to Glenn Hoddle's downfall.


Graham Kelly had a 10-year tenure at the helm of the FA from 1988 but his spell ended following allegations he overstepped his powers by promising a 3.2m loan to the Welsh FA (see above).

During his time in charge, he earned the tag of "sleaze-buster" - tackling match-fixing allegations, George Graham's bung debacle and Paul Merson's cocaine addiction.

After he stepped down, Adam Crozier stepped in as a surprise choice and battled to turn the FA from an outdated, unfashionable set-up to a body that matched the modern nature of the game.

He was the man responsible for bringing in Sven-Goran Eriksson, rehoused the FA in Soho House from Lancaster Gate, and replaced the 91-strong board with a panel of 12.

But a fall-out with some of the Premiership clubs eventually caused the end of his reign.

So in came Mark Palios, who took up the post in July 2003, finding an association in serious financial trouble and not long after a fifth of staff had been made redundant.

He stemmed the losses and continued the streamlining process started by Crozier before stepping down in the wake of the scandal involving him, Eriksson and Faria Alam.


Essentially the power of the chief executive has become reasonably limited, with the Premier League boasting much of the control over football in this country today.

However, the three key areas the FA is responsible are the FA Cup, the England team and being a disciplinarian for the sport nationwide.

How much of that decision-making actually rests with the chief exec is not entirely clear in an association renowned for its in-fighting over the years.

Although Barwick will be the head of the organisation, all decisions have to be ratified by the 12-man board, with chairman Geoffrey Thompson holding particular sway.

Barwick named FA chief executive
25 Nov 04 |  Football
Barwick tuned in for FA challenge
25 Nov 04 |  Football

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