The Football Association is "out of balance", filled with "elderly white men" and should be reformed, five former executives of the governing body have claimed.
David Bernstein, David Davies, Greg Dyke, Alex Horne and David Triesman said those in charge of the FA are collectively unrepresentative of English society and under-qualified to deal with the association’s role in modern football.
In a letter to Damian Collins MP, chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, they called on the Government to pass legislation to reform and modernise the FA.
The letter also said the FA lacks independence and makes decisions based on vested interests, because of a lack of checks and balances.
Mr Bernstein told Sky News he had tried to enact reform with a limited amount of success.
I had two independent directors appointed to the board, including a woman for the first time, but it was basically impossible, he said.
The FA council were very resistant to any change, the FA board weren’t particularly helpful as a whole, and it just wasn’t possible.
Mr Collins said the committee was working to prepare a draft Bill which would reform the FA’s structure.
In a written response to the former executives, Mr Collins added that the committee would ask for a debate in the House of Commons calling for a vote of no confidence in the FA, saying: We cannot afford to wait any longer.”
Speaking to Sky News, Mr Collins described the former executives’ letter as an unprecedented step.
He said: At the heart of this is a problem that the FA chairman and chief executive don’t really have the power to enact the reform that football needs.
They don’t have a majority on their own board.
MPs have published two reports on the issue.
Mr Collins added: The select committee set out how it thought football should change, to give more power to the board, and that the majority of the votes on that board should be held by the chairman and the chief executive, and independent non-executive directors.
The problem is, delivering that reform has been impossible for the FA to do itself, because there are too many vested interests within football who don’t want to see that change.
In a statement, the FA said it was currently working on governance reforms to adhere to Sport England and UK Sport’s Governance Code for Sport.
It added: The FA welcomes the new code as a means of ensuring that sports organisations in receipt of public money are operating in an effective and transparent manner that best supports their sports.
We will continue to work with the appropriate bodies, DCMS and Sport England, to achieve this joint ambition.
It comes as an MP has called on the Government to consider adopting a UK version of the Rooney rule, an American system which requires NFL teams to interview at least one black or minority ethnic candidate for senior coaching roles.
Former shadow sports minister Chi Onwurah said the fact that just three football managers in England’s top four divisions are from an ethnic minority is evidence of institutional failure.
Greg Dyke, who stood down as FA chairman in August, is one of a number of footballing figures who have backed calls for a UK version of the Rooney rule.
(c) Sky News 2016: Former FA chiefs call on MPs for major reform to ‘out of balance’ body