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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 May 2007, 13:49 GMT 14:49 UK
FA to have independent chairman
The Football Association
The Football Association will undergo major reforms
The Football Association will have an independent chairman from next year after the governing body's shareholders voted in favour of major reforms.

The vote at the AGM at Wembley Stadium resulted in 78.5% of the 915 votes cast being in favour of the structural review recommended by Lord Burns.

This was just over the 75% figure needed to make the changes.

FA chief executive Brian Barwick said: "The decision marks the start of an exciting new era for the FA."

Barwick added: "I would like to thank the shareholders for their support in bringing in these changes, which I am convinced will benefit both the FA and the game as a whole.

"This was a vote for change and for a modern, representative and effective FA, which is better equipped to take decisions in the wider interests of the game.

"I would like to thank Lord Burns for setting us on the path to modernisation and to recognise the enormous amount that has gone into shaping his recommendations into a new-look FA."

The other major changes to the FA's structure will mean:

  • Two independent members of the FA Board (the chief executive and the independent chairman) alongside five representatives from the professional game and five from the national game (down from six each).

  • An expanded FA Council, with added representation for players, managers, referees, women's football, ethnic minorities and disability football, as well as supporters.

  • A re-organisation of The FA's committee structure to streamline decision-making and better define areas of authority.

  • A semi-autonomous Football Regulatory Authority to govern the game, reporting to its own board.

  • A new funding formula dividing the FA's profits 50-50 between the professional and national games.

    FA chairman Geoff Thompson, who will be succeeded by an independent chairman when he steps down next year, stated: "The FA is a unique and historic organisation but we also have to make sure it is a relevant one.

    "This is one of the most important days in the FA's 144-year existence.

    "The structural review was an open and consultative process right from the start, with everyone involved in the game able to provide their views and opinions.

    "As a result, there was a lot of healthy debate about the right way forward but the vote shows the overwhelming support for a more modern, more inclusive FA.

    "I would like to congratulate the FA Council and the shareholders for their commitment to change."

    Lord Burns told BBC News 24: "Football has moved on and is very successful in many ways and should be governed with integrity.

    "It's very important to everybody that the FA are a successful governing body.

    "Having an independent chairman means that should be possible - and the chief executive of the FA should also have a vote on the board rather than just being in attendance."

    Fans group Supporters Direct delivered its backing and chief executive Phil French said: "This vote is very much welcomed as an important step forward in the on-going and progressive reform of the FA.

    "Although it has taken nearly two years' slog to deliver the Burns reforms, the FA Executive should be applauded for driving these proposals through in the face of continual opposition.

    "We look forward to continuing our discussions on the whole issue of how responsible supporter representation can be reflected at every level of the Football Association beyond the one place on the FA Council."

    SEE ALSO
    Burns wants clarity for Brooking
    29 Oct 06 |  Football
    FA Council ratifies Burns report
    27 Oct 06 |  Football


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