latest fiasco in England team selection establishes beyond any doubt that
the Mark Palios-led Football Association is unfit to run the national team.
We're not ready to give up on Palios, but his learning curve must be a
coach Sven-Göran Eriksson made a late call to Leeds United forward Alan Smith
for the Denmark friendly, only to see him sent packing a few hours later because
criminal assault charges might be brought against him for tossing a plastic
bottle back into the crowd. That
came in the wake of the Rio Ferdinand debacle, which saw the Manchester United
defender, a starting regular for England, suspended from national team duty for
the Turkey and Denmark matches for failing to take a drug test although he had
not even been charged before the Turkey match and still has not received a
hearing on the charge the F.A. eventually made before the Denmark match.
Eriksson called on Southampton's James Beattie to replace the suspended Smith,
Palios and his cohorts at the F.A. actually considered sending him home, too,
because he was in the middle of serving a drink-driving ban.
They ultimately decided not to suspend Beattie on the nonsensical
distinction that the courts already had dealt with his case.
Apparently, in Palios' topsy-turvy bureaucratic world, the uncharged
and the unconvicted deserve harsher treatment than the charged and the
might be very good at juggling numbers, but he is an abysmal failure in dealing
with the large part of his job that has a human relations aspect to it.
He is a bureaucrat, and twice he has concocted a bureaucratic boondoggle
in national team selection.
his short administration, despite the best of intentions, he has managed to
alienate the entire England team and England's national team coach.
he needs to do is to read Human Relations for Dummies' now.
isn't all that hard. All he needs
to learn is that people operate on the basis of expectations.
Putting in a new, hardline code of conduct and disciplinary regime is all
very well. But you don't impose
it in midstream, without any warning, and apply it retroactively.
What you do is spell things out in advance, tell people in clear terms
what is expected of them and what will happen if they fail to live up to those
expectations. You give clear
advance warning of what the rules are and what will happen if they are violated. And along the way you give a bow to the requirements of fair
If you want to ensure good relations all round, you
also consult constituent organisations, like the players' representatives in the
Professional Footballers Association. Those in positions of authority who ignore these
simple principles are asking for trouble.
now Palios has taken harsh action against England players without even a nod to
basic principles of fairness, which include fair warning as well as some sort of
hearing before discipline is imposed, and, in effect, established a new
disciplinary regime without consulting anyone outside his inner circle.
Hurst, the England World Cup 1966 star, has said management should manage and
players should play. Well,
Geoff, old boy, the days when the F.A. is free to do whatever it wants, however
unfair, however incompetent, are over. It
isn't that simple, although we suppose empty mouthings will continue to come
from empty heads.
head Sepp Blatter has bemoaned the lack of respect for the F.A.
Blatter has yet to learn that organisations gain precisely the respect
they deserve. And the lack of
respect for the F.A. (as well as FIFA) is richly deserved.