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Mis-Communicator of the Week: The FA

28th September 2016


It is rare that England’s Football Association get things right. They have a track record of turning issues into crises, thinking tactically not strategically

Let’s start then with some good news for the beleaguered FA who acted with speed and intent - including some well targeted background briefing - in making sure Sam Allardyce was removed from his job as England manager. Less than a day after the revelations that ‘Big Sam’ had advised under-cover reporters in how to circumnavigate FA rules he was gone. Normally this would see me celebrate the FA’s actions in acting speedily to put an end to a developing crisis. Sorry to everyone at the FA, not this time. 

As well as trying to secure a contract worth £400,000 for ‘keynote speaking’ over his £3 million a year FA salary, and on top of the advice over breaking FA rules on transfers; Sam Allardyce made derogatory remarks about his predecessor, the England team, the FA and its president - Prince William. 

What is clear is that Sam Allardyce as England manager was an accident waiting to happen. A previous sting operation alleged that Allardyce was walking a fine line over player transfers and it is now clear that those in the game knew of his propensity to try and maximise his income. This is where my problem with the FA lies - which is unfortunately something all too common with businesses too - they were unable or unwilling to undertake a basic due diligence process to evaluate the level of risk that existed in employing Sam Allardyce. 

Communicating well is fundamental to the good running of any organisation. It is the infrastructure that connects the organisation with its key audiences such as its customers, or in this case its fans. Communicating poorly will have a negative impact on an organisation’s value, its reputation, future sales, staff morale and many other elements that can undermine the long-term viability of that organisation. Imagine the commercial team at the FA are about to start negotiations on new sponsors or a kit deal that should be worth many millions. Today that process has been totally undermined. 

All this could have been avoided if the right checks, due diligence and risk assessments had been made on Allardyce’s reputation and his attributes whether professional qualifications or soft skills such as communications. It is now clear this work was never undertaken which has done yet further harm to the reputation of the FA and is why they are my Mis-Communicator of the Week.  

Mis-Communicator of the Week is written by Edward Staite.



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