Boro to test FA rules with appointment of Southgate

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The Independent Online

Middlesbrough will plunge themselves into controversy today when they unveil Gareth Southgate as their new manager.

The Teessiders have called a press conference "regarding England-bound Steve McClaren's successor as Middlesbrough manager" at which it is understood they will confirm the 35-year-old's appointment even though he does not have the necessary Uefa Pro Licence.

FA Premier League rules state that anyone without the Pro Licence can only take charge of a club for 12 weeks, although the 20 club chairmen who make up the league's shareholders voted to waive them last month to allow Glenn Roeder to be appointed at Newcastle because of the unique circumstances of his case. Roeder was already an experienced coach who had started his Pro Licence course when he suffered a brain tumour in 2003.

The Boro chairman Steve Gibson has actively been canvassing his counterparts in recent days despite resistance from the League Managers' Association, who also opposed Roeder's application for dispensation.

Gibson remains confident that a precedent has been set by that case, and believes allowances should be made for Southgate's record of service, his inability to acquire all his coaching qualifications because of his international career and the club's willingness to allow McClaren to take up the England job.

"Middlesbrough and Gareth should not suffer because he has had such a successful career at club and international level," chief executive Keith Lamb said. "Until recently Gareth has spent his summers serving his country as a player. It makes little sense that such a player should be denied an opportunity simply because he hasn't had the chance to gain the qualifications. Why not allow these players to gain their badges while doing the job rather than making them wait?

"It is no coincidence that many of the current crop of good young managers did not actually play at the highest level, so were able to concentrate on gaining qualifications. If that continues, most top British managers will have no experience of international football."

LMA chief executive, John Barnwell, said: "I would reiterate that this is not an LMA matter, it is a Uefa directive and an FA Premier League rule. We believe that it is up to the FA and the Premier League to maintain the agreed qualification standards."

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