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Clarke’s reforms get thumbs up at Wembley

The Football Association has agreed to implement the most radical reforms to how it is run in decades at a meeting of its shareholders at Wembley.

Championed by FA chairman Greg Clarke, the reforms mean the governing body will now meet the new governance code introduced by sports minister Tracey Crouch.

This will enable the FA to continue to receive public funding for grassroots projects and bidding for events, as well as answering critics who doubted its ability to modernise itself.

Already unanimously backed by the board and council, the reforms have now cleared the final hurdle of receiving the support from 75 per cent of the FA’s 1,100 shareholders and will come into force on July 27.

The key reforms are streamlining the board from 12 members to 10, with three seats reserved for women from 2018, the introduction of term limits and a revamped council.

In an FA statement, Clarke said: “This is a significant moment and a very positive step.

“Good corporate governance is essential for any successful organisation and these new reforms have the interests of football at their core. They will benefit all of English football.

“This is a good start but we don’t just want to be compliant with Sport England’s code for sports governance, we want to go beyond that. Our aim is to make English football for all and a more inclusive and diverse game.”

As well as the changes at board level, 11 new members will be added to the council, football’s so-called parliament, to make it more diverse and inclusive.

All council members will also have to be actively involved in the organisations they represent, so there will be no further appointments of life or senior vice-presidents, and those groups will lose their voting rights.

The limit of three three-year terms will apply to both the board and council.

Funding agencies

Clarke’s careful diplomacy has been crucial in getting the FA to this point but credit must be shared with Crouch for linking change to cash. From November, any organisation that wants support from funding agencies Sport England or UK Sport must meet the new code.

The FA received £30million from Sport England between 2013-17 and stood to lose about £15million of that - as grants have fallen and it has already been given £5.6million for disability football and the women’s game - if it failed to reform.

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