Brooking: 'they'd love me to disappear'

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The Independent Football

Ian Watmore, the Football Association's new chief executive, reports for his first day at work tomorrow with Trevor Brooking hoping he arrives on a white charger.

The FA's director of football development is putting his faith in Watmore's support after receiving another snub by the game's power-brokers.

Lords Triesman and Mawhinney, the respective chairmen of the FA and Football League, have increasingly sought to marginalise Brooking in a long-running dispute over the funding and training of players and coaches. In the latest development, Brooking has been left in the dark over an apparent deal between the pair and Sir Dave Richards, chairman of the Premier League. Lord Mawhinney revealed that he and Richards were "delighted" at a "fundamental agreement that the FA cannot and should not do coaching [of players] – that is the clubs' job". Mawhinney added: "The FA are to train the coaches and maintain coach standards. The FA will be, in effect, a teacher training college. Then those teachers will do the teaching [at clubs]."

This was news to Brooking, who Mawhinney attempted to remove from his post following a public spat in November. The former West Ham United and England midfielder has incurred the Football League's wrath for seeking an audit trail for the £8m the FA hand over to clubs annually for youth development.

The clubs insist they can self-regulate this but Brooking said: "The Prime Minister announced only this month that 'self-regulation is unacceptable in the modern world'. There has to be independent accountability and transparency." Brooking added: "Does this mean coach and player development are in the hands of the three chairmen? Because at executive level there is no technical input."

Brooking promised to continue fighting to raise the technical standards of young footballers. "They would love me to disappear. They tried to do it in November. The technical people, and public, supported me."

One of Watmore's sons spent several years in Manchester United's youth development scheme. Brooking said: " I know he is interested in the subject and it will be one of the first issues he'll have to deal with as the National Football Centre [where Brooking wants to train elite five to 16-year-olds, as the French do at Clairefontaine] is wrapped up in it. I can't believe coming from a government department he'll be happy at the lack of transparency. This is FA money."

Brooking believes it is illogical for the Football League, in particular, to believe the FA should concentrate only on providing coaches when there is no mandatory requirement for League clubs to appoint qualified staff. He is also concerned at the lack of qualifications held by many staff at academies.

In the past five years both the Technical Control Board, and its successor the Youth Development Group, have been disbanded. Concern within the FA at the lack of progress and accountability is such that FA councillors have forced the subject on the agenda for the FA's summer meeting.

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