Reforming FA ‘like turning around a supertanker’ – Glenn

Ian Watson

Martin Glenn insists he is “part of the solution rather than the problem” at the Football Association after a gruelling few weeks for the governing body.

Last month Glenn – the FA’s chief executive – appeared before a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee alongside chairman Greg Clarke, technical director Dan Ashworth and human resources boss Rachel Brace.

The quartet were all called to explain the FA’s handling of the allegations of bullying and racism made by striker Eni Aluko against former England women’s team manager Mark Sampson.

Clarke later admitted the governing body had “lost the trust of the public” and promised a “top to bottom” cultural review of the national football centre at St George’s Park.

And former Leicester board member Glenn believes plans to introduce a new whistle-blowing procedure by Christmas will help prove the FA is “fit for purpose”.

Speaking to Football Focus, Glenn said: “I’m self-critical, I think all leaders need to be self-critical, but I really believe I’m more part of the solution than the problem.”

He added: “I was brought in to change the Football Association two-and-a-half years ago and it’s a massive organisation, it’s like turning round a supertanker.

“The big area of change was to make it more open, make it more in tune with 21st-century football and society and it’s a big job to do.

“We’ve clearly had to learn some lessons with how to deal with elite athletes who raise a grievance, and it’s uncharted ground for us.

“By Christmas there will be a new grievance procedure and a new whistle-blowing procedure which I think is fit for purpose for an elite athlete able to challenge their employer.”

The success of England’s development sides this summer has offered some respite for the FA, and Glenn pointed to their triumphs as reason to believe the organisation is investing money wisely.

England’s Under-17s were crowned world champions at the end of October, following on from the Under-20s winning their version of the World Cup in June and the Under-19s claiming the Euros in July.

“If you understand what the FA does, it is massively fit for purpose,” Glenn told the BBC.

“The success of the England development teams absolutely shows that the kind of investment we’re putting into the game works.

“I know that football in England needs to change, we need to make it more in tune with 21st century society, learn from other sports, learn from other countries.

“We are making real progress. The success of those development teams, that shows that progress is being made.”