Hall in warning to the amateur

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Sports Politics

Sir John Hall, the man behind the sporting revolution at Newcastle United, yesterday warned the guardians of English sport that they faced "battles" ahead if they did not accept a shift in the balance of power.

He told a conference that amateur administrators could no longer expect to have the field to themselves and that the only way to ensure success in the 21st century was for them to form a partnership with professional entrepreneurs.

Sir John, who has transformed the fortunes of Newcastle United and now plans to do the same with Newcastle rugby club, was addressing the Central Council of Physical Recreation at Market Bosworth, Warwickshire.

"Ruling bodies have not learned to keep pace and I can't allow the amateur to run my business," he said. "You can no longer expect to have 100 per cent of power. Sport here has a great future if there is this partnership.

"If not, we shall challenge you and your rules in the courts and there will be battles."

Sir John also predicted that more millionaires would be willing to move into senior rugby clubs if given the right encouragement.

The problem, Sir John maintained, was that national sports administration was so fragmented.

"There are so many different bodies that I find it utterly confusing who to go to," he said.