The England national football team has been handed yet another blow, as if any more were needed after last summer's World Cup humiliation, after an adviser to Michel Platini, the UEFA President, revealed that he believes the position football holds in English culture is holding back the long-term development and short-term international success of the sport.
William Gaillard believes that the manner in which professional football dominates the sport in England, with the Premier League one of the richest and most famous leagues in world football, leaves the English FA in a relatively weak position. His words were spoken to the government's culture, media, and sport committee, who were fairly shocked to hear that the FA are, in his opinion, in a weaker position than any other football association in the whole of Europe.
Possible solutions to this conundrum, according to the UEFA adviser, include introducing a technical director on the national football scene, who would be responsible for developing players and bringing them through into the country's senior first team. With countries such as Netherlands, who enjoyed such a good World Cup in 2010 in South Africa, employing such an individual to encourage the development of young talent, it could be that the government look at introducing such measures over the next five or ten years.
Grass-roots football in England has come under massive amounts of criticism over the last few years and a reliance in the Premier League upon foreign players, many of whom are more interested in accruing as many sponsors as possible or becoming the latest face of the new LED TVs or PS3 accessories than they are helping the development of UK football, has led to some youngsters born and bred in youth academies here to be ignored. If England want to win a major trophy within the next 10 years, they need to reverse what has become a damaging trend.