Barwick falls as Triesman coup ends the FA's power struggle

The Football Association chief executive, Brian Barwick, was last night forced out by the governing body after a power struggle at the very top of the English game. The man who appointed Fabio Capello in December fell victim to the all-powerful new regime of the new FA chairman, Lord Triesman.

The former Labour Party general secretary, appointed in January 2008, has gradually chipped away at the status and influence of Barwick, appointed in January 2005, since he joined the organisation. Matters came to a head at the FA's board meeting yesterday when Barwick said that he had no option but to leave because he had been undermined by Triesman, who has sought to take control of the organisation at all levels. Barwick's departure was sudden and he did not take his usual place as part of the group of so-called dignitaries meeting the players before last night's Wembley game.

Triesman already has a ready-made replacement for Barwick, Alex Horne who joined the FA from Wembley. Most of all Barwick's ousting shows just how powerful the FA chairman has become. Triesman is working as a full-time executive, the original plan was for him to go back to a three-day week but no date has been set for that to happen.

Never rated by Triesman, Barwick, who will officially leave at the end of the year, has been forced out as the FA chairman sought to take control of all the governing body's major responsibilities – the key one being the administration of the 2018 World Cup bid. It is ironic that Triesman has proved to be the downfall of Barwick because it was the Liverpudlian who forced through the controversial Burns review recommendations at the FA last year. Chief among those recommendations to change the structure of the organisation, made by Burns in August 2005, was the appointment of an independent chairman for the FA.

A notoriously difficult job – Mark Palios and Adam Crozier both fought memorable losing battles as the FA chief executive – Barwick will claim the implementation of the Burns review as one of his major successes. There were a few failures too, chief among them the bungled attempt to sign Luiz Felipe Scolari as the new England manager in 2006 which ended in ignominy. Steve McClaren's appointment will hardly be remembered as a success story either.

A former television executive, Barwick was not an accomplished performer in front of the press and at one toe-curling press conference famously insisted that McClaren had always been his first choice as England manager. He was always likely to struggle against the more slick, politically astute Triesman, who many at the FA regard as just the kind of heavyweight networker capable of representing the organisation in government and around the world.

Barwick's biggest ally at the FA, the lawyer Simon Johnson, had already had the ignominy of having his job as chief operating officer advertised while he has been in Beijing representing the FA at the Olympics. Johnson joined Barwick from the Premier League and was regarded as the man who guided the former FA chief executive through certain aspects of the job. Johnson was due to play a major role in the 2018 bid but that now looks highly unlikely.

Barwick never really had a major power base at the FA. Those representing the grass-roots felt squeezed by the Burns review and some of the powerful figures like Sir Dave Richards and Lord Mawhinney were unhappy at what they thought was Barwick's attempt to railroad them into agreeing to Capello's £6m-a-year contract. Barwick convened the FA board by a telephone conference rather than in person.

"I am sad to be leaving the FA – an organisation it has been a privilege to lead – but I believe it is in the best interests of all parties," said Barwick in a statement.

Triesman paid tribute to Barwick, despite being the pivotal figure in his departure. "Brian leaves with our best wishes for the future and will always be welcome back as our guest at Wembley," he said.

News
peoplePaper attempts to defend itself
Voices
voicesWe desperately need men to be feminists too
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits