The shaming of the FA
There has been a stench in football for far too long.
The smell of corruption has tainted the national game for the last 40 years. More often than not, the chicanery and wrongdoing has involved money and greed.
But last night, as I watched the third part of the hard-hitting BBC series Football’s Darkest Hour, I realised the national game has finally sunk to an all-time low. It is rotten to its core – and the Football Association must shoulder almost all of the blame.
Cash is one thing – and let’s face it, people (particularly men) will always be greedy.
But child abuse takes things to another level. And to hear so many heart-wrenching accounts of sexual abuse committed on young boys, who loved nothing more than the thrill of kicking a football about, has sunk the game to a depth I never thought it could go to.
The perpetrators of the abuse on 800 innocent souls – men like serial predator Barry Bennell – quite rightly had there crimes exposed. Some were jailed, some died before they could be brought to justice. But their names will forever be associated with the evil deeds that wrecked the lives and careers of so many.
Negligence and incompetence
But what of the bosses of the Football Association, the chief executives and presidents who have come and gone over the years; the people who were employed to protect youngsters. Who is holding these people to account?
Unfortunately, like in so many other cases, I fear their negligence and incompetence will be overlooked yet again. The scale of the ineptitude is so great there can be no other outcome.
After all, there have been so many scandals at the FA, I fear nothing can change the mentality and behaviour of the people driving football’s ruling body into the gutter. There are too many vested interests; too many dark secrets; too many Masonic handshakes.
It seems to be an unaccountable organisation that cares about two things: money and power.
If I am wrong, and I hope I am, then now is the time for the Football Association to truly get its house in order and work with the government to put in place a structure, which includes an independent regulator, that ensures systematic abuse can never happen again.
I live in hope – as I have been doing for the past four decades. And be assured I will be praying for the victims, the perpetrators, and the men and women within the FA who have repeatedly turned a blind eye to everything that has gone on.