At seemingly every turn over the past few seasons, the FA has managed to paint itself as an incompetent, backwards-thinking organization that has little in mind other than its own sense of self-importance. They seem to be working towards some ideal, but with their decision-making constantly under question from the public at large, it's hard to see what exactly that ideal is, and with little in place to change the way that they do business, there's been a growing sense of frustration as to just how English Football could progress under such dysfunctional leadership.
So it's possibly encouraging--if a little vague--to read that the British Government is stepping in to force the issue a bit, even if the issue could ultimately end up being more politics than progress. Sports Minister Hugh Robertson has asserted that the FA, Premier League, and Football League must begin to work collective in moving the sport in a different direction in England, and hopefully one that will be more positive for the sport.
The new licensing system, in which the government envisages the FA playing a key role in overseeing the rulebooks of the Premier League and Football League, should "ensure appropriate and consistent checks and balances are in place to protect the overall financial integrity of the national game and its long-term viability".
The government also urges immediate reform of the FA council, often criticised for being unrepresentative and out of touch. It calls for the body to become "genuinely representative of the modern game" and for FA committees to report directly to the board instead of the council.
There's also discussion of the national team setup and the disciplinary board, which would now be part of "a new, independent organisation." Ideally the changes would see many of the concerns of the past few seasons, particularly when it comes to governance and representation, a topic that gained renewed attention last month when David Gill--Manchester United's Chief Executive--was appointed vice chairman of the FA.
No changes are in store immediately, and as I mentioned, there's every possibility that this turns out to be little more than posturing on both sides. But if there are changes in store they'd certainly be welcomed, especially if they're true to their word in making all involved more accountable.
**H/T to PhoenixTears from the comments yesterday for the link**