Football Management

Commentary on the management of over 160 English football clubs by Dr John Beech, winner of the FSF Writer of the Year Award 2009/10 Twitter: @JohnBeech Curator of! Football Finance

Chester City case continues causing Conference chaos

Posted by John Beech on August 8, 2009

Latest development in this depressing saga is that the FA have in effect over-ruled the Conference – going ahead with the first match Chester are due to play, against Grays, would be a breach of FA rules (1) and it therefore now off.

To me, there are three issues here:

  1. The issue of club v. club management
    In the case of Chester City the effect of the various rulings is to punish the club, rather than the club management, which is entirely dysfunctional.
  2. The issue of the speed of governance
    A thorny one. Yes, things should have happened more speedily, but speedy decisions may lead to faulty decisions, which in the longer term is even more unhelpful.
  3. The issue of governance
    Once again we see the perils of governance in English football which began with the formation of the Football League, potentially setting up clashes between the FA as the ultimate authority and league organisers as those who actually have the power in operational terms. The emergence of the Premier League was simply another step down this rocky road.

The first issue is one that needs urgently tackling by the FA in particular, with a new approach to discipline and sanctions. The second is, indeed, thorny, but would be eased considerably if the other issues were resolved, leading to fewer contentious case; the third issue is the simplest to resolve in practice, but the hardest to resolve in practice – the ‘starting with a blank sheet of paper’ option doesn’t exist, so how do we move to a more rational governance structure? With very considerable difficulty, as none of the bodies involved would be willing to give up power even for the good of the game.

One thing is clear – Chester City fans are already shaping up all too well for the ‘Most Put Upon Fans’ of the season 2009/10 award, although Halesowen Town fans will probably give them a good contest.


One Response to “Chester City case continues causing Conference chaos”

  1. John Beech said

    And of course Chester City are not alone. North of the Border, Livingston, who have been decimated under Angelo Massone, are refusing to play their opening game as they plan to appeal their demotion to SL3 (1).

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