Football Association of Wales approves 'significant' overhaul

Former FAW President Dai Griffiths, Wales manager Ryan Giggs and FAW chief executive Jonathan Ford
Former FAW President Dai Griffiths, Wales manager Ryan Giggs and FAW chief executive Jonathan Ford

The Football Association of Wales have approved an overhaul of the way Welsh football's governing body is run.

FAW chief executive Jonathan Ford has described the decision to appoint a new executive board as the most significant change to the association in 75 years.

Previously, Council members from different clubs and areas associations of Wales had the final say on matters.

"(This) will finally see a proper board put in place to effectively run the business," Ford told BBC Sport Wales.

"Probably, in organisational terms, (it's) the most significant thing that has happened to the FAW in the last 75 years."

In a statement, the FAW claimed the changes will "modernise and streamline" decision-making, bringing it into line with other football governing bodies, including FIFA and Uefa.

A new 11-person board will be established, all of whom will be directors, including an independent chair and two further independent directors as well as the chief executive.

It will still include three elected council members, as well as three officers from those members such as the FAW treasurer.

It will also include the FAW President, with Kieran O'Connor being confirmed last week as the successor to Dai Griffiths, who leaves his role after a three-year term that took in the national side's run to the Euro 2016 semi-finals and the hosting of the Champions League finals in Cardiff.

Committees are also set to be slimmed down, reporting to the board which can then have the power to make calls, speeding up decision-making and taking away extra layers of governance.

"The football side of things will still be run in the committee meetings we have with the FAW council, and some of those members will sit on the board," Ford said.

"It's a positive change, the right change for the business because we've professionalised, we've got a lot bigger.

"We now have a multi-million pound turnover operating in multiple countries with over a hundred full-time employees; it needs to have a proper board to run that."

So why the change?

The FAW has been criticised in the past for still being made up of a large councils with various committees, though which much of the key decisions on running Welsh football had to pass through.

Those decisions could range from anything from sponsorship, to matters on grassroots football to the appointment of a national team manager.

Ford had attempted to oversee a change five years ago following the production of a review highly critical of the current system of governance.

However, despite some reforms, it was unable to secure the overhaul of the like recently approved.

A working group was formed last year, including five representatives of the FAW council with an independent member as chair, and have spent the past 12 months forming recommendations for change.

"There is a conflict between being a council member representing an area or a club and then being a director where you have to make decisions in the interest of the whole of welsh football," Ford explained.

"There was a conflict of interests. Effectively we've taken that conflict out and the people we will put in place to be directors, with independents as well, will have the business acumen we need to run a multi-million pound business across the world.

"It's not that (the FAW council) will lose its power - they will still be shareholders - but what they won't be any more is automatically directors of the business; that's the significant change."

What happens next?

The FAW will also form two new boards - a National League board and National Cup board - to oversee domestic competition in both men and women's football.

An appointments committee will be set up to approve the independent directors, with those recommended for roles done so on business experience as opposed to being granted by clubs or area associations.

The working group will now turn attentions to other issues, including succession planning and representation of the game.

Member clubs will be now be consulted before implementing agreed changes, which will see formal changes to the rules and regulations of the association.

Top Stories