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.
Latest in Sport
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget that fateful day in Belgium
Revealed: The most unwatchable Premier League teams of the 2014/15 season
Paul Scholes column: With Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Premier League 2015/16 kits: Confirmed and rumoured strips from Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and others
Michel Platini to consider pulling England and other Uefa members out of the World Cup if Sepp Blatter wins Fifa election
- 1 10 ways we damage our teeth – without realising
- 2 There is something wrong but very right about this Bible illustration
- 3 iPhone 'effective power' text: how to be safe from iOS bug that lets people crash your phone
- 4 Photo of wedding guest proposing to girlfriend in front of bride and groom goes viral
- 5 Charlie Charlie Challenge explained: it's just gravity — not a Mexican demon being summoned
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'