Civil servant gets FA post


LONDON, February 18 – Ian Watmore, a senior civil servant in the British Government, was announced Wednesday as the new chief executive of England's Football Association.

MAN_U_PLAYERSWatmore, currently the permanent secretary of the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills where FA chairman Lord David Triesman was once a minister, will take up his role in June.

"I am delighted to be joining The Football Association as chief executive," said Watmore. It is a great challenge and one I am really looking forward to.

"With Lord Triesman and the (FA) Board, Fabio Capello and the FA’s staff, I want to ensure we are achieving success on and off the pitch across all levels of the game."

Former Arsenal managing director Keith Edelman was also reported to be in contention for the post.

But it is the 50-year-old Watmore who will replace Brian Barwick, who stepped down at the end of last year.

Barwick was in charge when Italian Fabio Capello, who has enjoyed a successful start to his time as England manager as he bids to take the team to the 2010, World Cup finals in South Africa, was appointed.

But the former television sports producer also presided over the dismal failure of then England manager Steve McClaren’s dismal failure to qualify for Euro 2008 and the bungled attempt to appoint Luiz Felipe Scolari, recently sacked by Chelsea, as Sven-Goran Eriksson’s successor.

However, he did conclude a lucrative television deal with ITV and satellite station Setanta which left the FA’s finances in good shape.

Delivery of the long awaited National Football Centre in Burton, central England will be one of the tasks facing Watmore, who before entering government worked in the IT industry.

Watmore’s appointment will raise concerns about whether there are too many figures with a Whitehall background at the FA but Triesman said: "We had a very strong shortlist of candidates, but in Ian we have the right person to lead the organisation as chief executive officer.

"The FA is committed to maximising participation across all levels of football in this country, helping the England teams and our clubs achieve success on the pitch, while also being trusted to govern the game."