The FA and their coma-patient mentality 2

The specifics of The FA Commission’s report I’ll leave for other, more informed people to debate. A significant element of the report is common-sense and stresses - rather obviously - the importance of developing the grass roots of the game and committing greater funds to the provision of more extensive facilities.  Nobody objects to that and nobody doubted its necessity even before the Commission reported back.

But the ‘B-team/League Three’ initiative?  Just a little bit more divisive…

Frequently, The FA’s behaviour resembles that of a recently recovered coma patient.  Twenty years ago it fell into a deep, deep sleep, and now that it’s awake it fails to recognise or comprehend the world in which it exists.  It stumbles around the streets, shouting about something that seemed relevant at the end of the 1980s, and passers-by smile wistfully and shake their heads.

Just as the patient can’t instantaneously adjust and make-up for those lost years, the FA can’t compensate for decades of  laissez-faire ineffectiveness with a big, panicky alteration to the game’s parameters.

Greg Dyke, to his credit, understands the timescale on which English football is operating and appreciates that there is no quick-fix to the malaise it now finds itself in - but that’s at odds with the solutions he’s proposing.  Had The FA been a more active participant over the years, then maybe it could have made incremental changes to the game and initiated minor, non-disruptive tweaks to promote the development of homegrown talent.  But because it hasn’t, it’s now forced to sponsor overly-dramatic structural alterations to make up for those years of neglect.

And that’s my problem with this.

Blame the Premier League if you like, but remember that it’s really not obligated to be anything other than self-serving.  The Footballing Association was supposed to be the moral guardian of the game, and so ultimate responsibility must rest with them for allowing the armies of self-interest to rush through the city walls.  The response to that, however, isn’t for The FA to pick on a lesser opponent in The Football League and force them to shoulder this responsibility by diluting their own product.  That’s nonsense, and it’s a threat to a lot of the core values associated with English football.

Superfluous additional leagues are not going to solve this problem, and The FA can’t start implementing enormous structural changes as a way of fast-tracking improvement and whitewashing their ineffective past.  English football is lagging behind the other elite nations, and we have to take our medicine and correct this problem in the right way.

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