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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 February 2007, 21:38 GMT
Mihir Bose view
BBC sports editor Mihir Bose gets inside sport
By Mihir Bose
BBC sports editor

Lord Burns
Lord Burns was asked to conduct the review at the end of 2004
The Football Association has once again postponed a decision on the Burns report, the long-awaited and much-hyped report which seeks to radically reform the way the game is governed.

It may now be the summer before the report is finally accepted - and there are fears that the delay could even lead to the reforms never being implemented.

I understand that a couple of hours before Steve McClaren's men suffered their humiliation at the hands of Spain at Old Trafford on Wednesday, members of the FA board had a tense three-hour board meeting in a committee room overlooking the ground.

The meeting was called because the FA had not followed its own regulations governing changes in its constitution.

Implementing the Burns report means changing the FA's articles on rules and regulations.

To do that you have to give 45 or 30 day's notice depending on whether it is a change of articles or a change of rules. This has not been given.

KEY POINTS OF BURNS' REFORM
Appointment of an independent chairman
Creation of a new board
Establishing a new regulation and compliance unit to carry out the enforcement functions of the FA
Creation of two new subsidiaries - the Community Football Alliance and the Professional Football Alliance
Expanding the current FA Council into a 'Parliament of football' which will include players, managers, referees and supporters

So after a discussion which was, at times, quite heated, the board decided that a meeting of the FA shareholders to approve the Burns report, due to be held on 13 March, had to be cancelled.

But the board could not set a date for the shareholders' meeting. It may now be in May or June. At least one board insider fears it may never take place.

During the Manchester meeting board members once again debated Burns, as they have been doing for 18 months now.

This showed deep differences remain between the amateur game and the professional game.

The Burns report proposes a change in the way the FA distributes its surplus funds.

At the moment it is distributed 55%-45% between the amateur and the professional game.

The proposal is that from 1 January 2007 any surplus above the current level of around 60m should be split 50-50.

However, the representatives of the professional game, led by Lord Brian Mawhinney, made it clear they wanted to see budgets and details of how the surplus would be calculated before the changes recommended in the Burns report are implemented.

Spain celebrate their goal against England at Old Trafford
The FA board met before watching England lose to Spain

There was also much debate about the proposal by those within the amateur game that they should be given a golden share, which would allow them to block any change they did not like.

At present the professional game has a golden share.

This is because the amateurs outnumber the professionals in the FA and the golden share is meant to protect the interests of the professionals.

The professionals are not happy about giving the amateurs a golden share as they feel it will make future change difficult.

One of Burn's major recommendations is an independent chairman. The amateur game has never been happy with this and while they have agreed to it, this is by a very slim margin.

Even before Wednesday's meeting it was clear that many of the members in the county associations and shires still have doubts about an independent chairman.

One insider I spoke to fears that the support for this particular Burns recommendation is so weak that it will not get the required two thirds majority.

All this wrangling has made many insiders feel that if the delay goes on the Burns report - and the implementation of its recommendations - may fall by the wayside.

This would upset sports minister Richard Caborn considerably - he is determined that the FA should implement the Burns report.



SEE ALSO
England 0-1 Spain
07 Feb 07 |  Internationals
McClaren warns uninspired England
08 Feb 07 |  Internationals
FA Council ratifies Burns report
27 Oct 06 |  Football
Caborn frustrated at Burns delay
11 Aug 06 |  Football
What the Burns report says
12 Aug 05 |  Football
Burns wants FA proposals embraced
12 Aug 05 |  Football


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