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FA chief executive Barwick set to leave this year

Football Association chief executive Brian Barwick has expressed sadness after it was confirmed he will be leaving his post at Soho Square.

Barwick will depart on December 31 after it became obvious his idea of how the job should be done differed markedly from that of chairman Lord Triesman.

The pair have held a number of discussions and although they sat together in the Royal Box for tonight's draw between England and the Czech Republic, it has been apparent for some time a parting of the ways was inevitable.

And, as Fabio Capello's side trudged off after an uninspiring 2-2 draw, confirmation came from the FA of Barwick's departure.

'I am sad to be leaving the FA - an organisation it has been a privilege to lead - but I believe it is in the best interests of all parties,' said Barwick in a statement.

'I have always endeavoured to do my job with passion, decency and integrity, and I believe I am leaving a strong legacy for the future.'

After the eras of previous chief executives Mark Palios, Adam Crozier and Graham Kelly, Barwick will at least leave the FA free of any stigma of controversy.

He may also point to his strong record, which includes building Wembley and gaining agreement for the National Football Centre in Burton, as well as the record TV deals he negotiated, as proof his departure is to the detriment of the organisation.

However, Triesman is a man who clearly likes to get his own way.

The Labour peer has made sweeping changes since becoming the first independent chairman of the FA at the start of the year.

The chairman was not close to Barwick and felt he lacked the necessary business skills to modernise the organisation.

Barwick, who also took some of the blame for the bungled attempt to appoint Luiz Felipe Scolari as Sven-Goran Eriksson's successor, flying to Portugal to complete the deal, only to discover the Brazilian had changed his mind, did not chair the weekly management FA board meeting yesterday.

He then pulled out of the presentation party for tonight's game, with no explanation offered.

'We have achieved a lot over the past three-and-a-half years: opening the new Wembley Stadium, implementing the structural review and increasing our broadcast and commercial contracts to record income levels,' added Barwick.

'The organisation is in better financial health than ever before, and I am also delighted to have seen the recent launch of the Respect programme, which is very important to me.

'On the pitch, I'm convinced that in Fabio Capello, the England team has the right manager and a genuine chance of success, while I also believe the plans for the National Football Centre will benefit English football in the long term.

'I would like to pay tribute to the FA board for their strong support, and especially thank my colleagues at the FA for their tremendous efforts during my tenure.'

Triesman also paid tribute to Barwick, despite being the pivotal figure in his departure.

'On behalf of everyone at the FA, I would like to express my sincere thanks to Brian for the stability and growth that he has brought to the organisation,' he said.

'Brian leaves with our best wishes for the future and will always be welcome back as our guest at Wembley.'

Speculation will immediately begin as to Barwick's likely successor.

Manchester United chief executive David Gill has steadily grown in influence at the FA and his work at Old Trafford is held in high esteem.

However, it is hardly likely the current salary of £450,000 per annum will appeal to someone who earns in excess of double that figure.

Also, if Barwick thought his wings were being clipped, the role as Triesman sees it is unlikely to suit Gill.

A more plausible candidate is the FA's chief operating officer Alex Horne, the former boss of Wembley, who had already been handed many of Barwick's responsibilities.


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