High time Sir David was put out to grass
Saturday 27 March 2010
If the premature departure of Ian Watmore from the Football Association is to have any silver lining it is that it has focused attention on the position of Sir David Richards (whose knighthood is the perfect example of how ridiculous the honours system is).
If it is hard to find anyone to say a good word about the hapless functionary on the record, it is impossible to do so off the record. The general assessment is that Richards is none too bright, but makes a useful patsy for the Premier League.
As a businessman, Richards presided over a string of companies which either went into receivership or were dissolved. As a football chairman he oversaw Sheffield Wednesday's decline from a major force to a debt-ridden also-ran. In any normal industry this would disqualify him from any position of influence. In football, however, a man with no apparent interest, other than preserving his perks and titles, may still have his uses.
He has thus inveigled himself on to an extraordinary number of committees. But what he has done on them is hard to discern. On the few occasions he does put his head above the parapet he usually puts his foot in it. For example, there was his admission in Dubai last year that the Premier League "damaged" the England team. Quite a statement from the chairman of the Premier League, an FA Board member. He told the Uefa president Michel Platini he was "killing football", not exactly the way to win friends and influence people. He flounced out of the 2018 World Cup bid committee in an apparent huff, too. This, at least, is deemed to have enhanced England's chances.
The potential conflict of interest in Richards's roles highlights the dysfunctional nature of the FA structure. Until this is reformed, and placemen like Richards axed, the game will be poorly administrated.
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