Master of jargon talks way into FA

Criticised by MPs for ‘impenetrable’ reports, the former civil servant Ian Watmore takes over at Soho Square

A senior civil servant in charge of a Government department that was criticised last month for producing reports full of “impenetrable” language “peppered with jargon” was yesterday announced as the next chief executive of the Football Association.

Ian Watmore, 50, a lifelong Arsenal fan whose current job is Permanent Secretary for the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, will succeed Brian Barwick as chief executive when he takes up his new post in June.

Watmore was chosen by the FA after proving himself to be “the outstanding candidate” of three|interviewed by the FA. The shortlist included Arsenal’s former managing director, Keith Edelman, plus someone from the business world.

Watmore’s job will be to oversee the day-to-day running of the FA, providing the infrastructure that Fabio Capello requires to get the best from England, nurturing the game’s grassroots and working to create harmony among all football’s “stakeholders” from the professional and amateur sides of the game.

The National Football Centre in Burton will be high on his agenda – whether to go ahead with plans to make it a hub of coaching excellence or scrap it. England’s bid for the 2018 World Cup will be less of an issue for Watmore. A separate bid company has been formed to take care of that.

Watmore arrives at an otherwise “calm” time for the FA, as one insider described it yesterday. If use of |jargon is his worst error in office, nobody at Soho Square will complain. When MPs on a Commons select committee made their negative comments last month about DIUS’s reports, Watmore conceded the language was “inaccessible” and promised to fix the problem.

Watmore’s appointment will inevitably elicit criticism that the FA and its offshoot groups, under chairman Lord Triesman, is becoming an “old pals club” of Triesman’s political contacts. Triesman and Watmore know each other from working together at the DIUS. Triesman has also been joined by a handful of politicians on the 2018 bid campaign board.

Yet Watmore is described by those who know him as a “decent, ordinary bloke who likes his football and cares about the game. If he’s perceived as a bit grey he can hardly be described as having a career in politics.” Indeed Watmore, who is married with four teenaged sons, has spent 24 years of a 30-year career working in the private sector, mainly in IT. He lives in the north-west and, as well as supporting Arsenal, watches Altrincham in the Blue Square Premier “when he is not watching his sons playing in the Cheshire and South Manchester leagues.”

“I am delighted to be joining the Football Association as chief executive,” Watmore said. “It is a great challenge and one I am really looking forward to. With Lord Triesman and the [FA] Board, Fabio Capello and the FA’s staff, I want to ensure we are achieving success on and off the pitch across all levels of the game.”

Triesman said: “We had a very strong shortlist of candidates, but in Ian we have the right person to lead the organisation as chief executive officer.

“The FA is committed to maximising participation across all levels of football in this country, helping the England teams and our clubs achieve success on the pitch, while also being trusted to govern the game.”

From IT to FA: Watmore’s CV

1958 Born 5 July, Bromley

1977 Studies Mathematics and Management Studies at Cambridge.

1980 Joins Andersen Consulting.

2000 Named managing director of Accenture UK.

2004 Joins civil service as Government Chief Information Officer.

2005 Receives Outstanding Contribution to IT award for work on Transformational Government strategy. Appointed head of Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit.

2007 Appointed Permanent Secretary for Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
Sport
Ronaldinho signs the t-shirt of a pitch invader
footballProof they are getting bolder
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
News
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
Voices
voicesBy the man who has
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
Sport
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
News
Floyd
newsFloyd 'Creeky' Creekmore still performed regularly to raise money for local hospitals
Extras
indybestKeep extra warm this year with our 10 best bedspreads
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
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

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?