Hill calls for FA change

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The Independent Online
THE Football Association's five-man sub-committee formed to find the next England coach met last week for the first time - none ruled in, none ruled out, said the chief executive Graham Kelly - but it is the filling of two other jobs within the English game's governing body that could be of longer-term importance.

Without FA reform, say two well-respected figures inside the game, mistakes of the past could be repeated and the progress of the national team, the game itself, continue to be hampered.

Jimmy Hill, the TV analyst, Fulham chairman and FA councillor, has been linked with the job of FA chairman but rules it out because of the frustrations of the job. "It is one thing knowing what needs to be done and another thing doing it with the FA council the way it is," he says.

Hill, the only former professional footballer on the 90-strong body, believes the organisation must streamline itself in order to make swift and vital decisions about the future of the game in this country, starting with the development of skills in young players.

"The FA Council is not all bad. Where there is a matter of integrity, the resolution and experience of such a weighty number of councillors is invaluable, making it incorruptible. But when you want to move, it becomes very difficult." The "untouchable" FA structure is delaying the game's development, Hill believes.

The former West Ham and England player Trevor Brooking, touted as having the right ideas to be the FA's technical director, concurs: "Each year we delay, then each year we are not seeing the results of a five-year plan of what needs to be done. We are losing ground. We were told that something would be done after we failed to qualify for the last World Cup but nothing has."

Brooking, who has not applied for the job nor been approached,adds that he would be "interested in finding out what the job is about". Brooking insists that the new man must have a significant budget and powers to implement change.

"There are many questions that need to be answered. Like when is the current head of coaching, Charles Hughes, retiring, as it has been said he is? I think the FA has been distracted with blocking up holes, what with sleaze and bungs, rather than doing something positive.

"I have just allowed myself to be put in the hat to try and open up discussion about what is going to be done. I do believe that the new chairman, coach and technical director should be compatible in their philosophy."

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