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21 Agustus 2008

I am leaving a strong legacy for England, claims departing Barwick

Brian Barwick is confident Fabio Capello will lead England to success over the next few years after it was confirmed that the Football Association chief executive will leave his post on December 31 following a major difference of opinion with chairman Lord Triesman over the precise nature of his job.
Barwick has a host of credits to his name, although he was also responsible for the farce that accompanied the announcement of Sven-Goran Eriksson's successor and the botched attempt to hire Luiz Felipe Scolari. However, he did get Capello on board and is predicting big things for the future. "I'm convinced that in Fabio Capello, the England team has the right manager and a genuine chance of success," said Barwick.
After the eras of 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. He was not close to Barwick and felt he lacked the necessary business skills to modernise the organisation. Barwick did not chair the weekly management board meeting on Tuesday. He then pulled out of the presentation party for England's 2-2 draw with the Czech Republic last night with no explanation offered.
"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. 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.
"The organisation is in better financial health than ever before, and I am also delighted to afhave seen the recent launch of the Respect programme, which is very important to me. 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. The 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 could be the FA's chief operating officer, Alex Horne, the former boss of Wembley, who had already been handed many of Barwick's responsibilities.