Football: Millichip calls for `massive' change at FA

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The Independent Online
SIR BERT Millichip has declared that the Football Association needs a "massive overhaul" in the wake of the crisis gripping the game's governing body.

The resignation of the FA chief executive, Graham Kelly, has left a long- term power void which is set to grow next month when the FA chairman, Keith Wiseman, is expected to be forced out of office.

Wiseman's predecessor at the FA, Millichip feels the time is now ripe for the FA to recover from the week's traumatic events by implementing the long-overdue changes he failed to introduce during his own years in charge.

"The structure of the FA needs a massive overhaul. I tried to do that four times during my time in charge but failed," he said. "There is no doubt that the set-up is Victorian. But what has happened should at least speed things up.

"What has happened may make the full council look further than the ends of their noses and realise that an overhaul is needed - not just a cosmetic papering over of the cracks."

Millichip believes that the root of the problem at the FA is the unwieldy and all-powerful full council, and "the fact that you can't make any decisions without the backing of 75 per cent of the 90-odd members". He stops short of advocating the abolition the full council or even sacking many of its members, given that the grass-roots of the game needs to be represented at the FA in some form and that there is much experience there to be called upon.

Millichip has followed the growing crisis from its inception this summer, when David Will, Scotland's representative on the executive of Fifa, football's world governing body, first raised concerns about the way in which Wiseman seemed to be seeking support to replace him.

Millichip admitted: "What has really astonished me is that it has taken so long to come out. The chairman was making a decision which may have been in the best interests of the FA but, when you make a decision, it is always necessary to gain approval for it. It is not the decision that is in question but the circumstances surrounding it."

The president of the Football Association of Wales has defiantly refused to accept any responsibility for the cash-for-votes scandal at Lancaster Gate.

John Hughes insists the FAW has done "nothing wrong whatsoever", and says nobody on the council will resign. Hughes also expressed his surprise over comments made by the former Wales manager, Terry Yorath, who said "every member of the FAW should resign, lock, stock and barrel. They have been doing an embarrassing job for years."

Hughes countered: "I don't see why any of them should resign. We accepted the money in the spirit in which it was given, for the benefit not of the FAW but for the betterment of football in Wales and football in the community."

World Cup odyssey, page 25