Martin Glenn: FA chief executive to leave at end of the season

Glenn oversaw the FA at a time when Gareth Southgate guided the men’s team to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals

Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn will step down at the end of the 2018-19 season after four years in the role.

The FA said he was leaving having “delivered much of what he came to do”.

In a statement the FA credited him with creating the “culture around St George’s Park and the England teams which has led to an unprecedented period of success”.

Glenn said it had been a “huge honour and a privilege” to lead the FA.

“I will leave feeling proud of the success of the performance of all the England teams,” he added.

“I am confident that we have established in St George’s Park a world-class centre which will ensure that the teams will continue to build on their current successes.”

Since Glenn took charge of the FA in 2015, England’s men’s and women’s teams have both reached a World Cup semi-final while the men’s Under-17 and Under-20 teams both won their age-group World Cups.

Glenn also oversaw a revamp of the English football fixture schedule with a winter break to be introduced from next season and has led the FA’s attempts to increase diversity, both at the organisation and in wider football, including adopting the ‘Rooney Rule’ for roles in the England set-up.

During his four years in charge the FA’s revenue has increased by 40%, which allowed the organisation to invest a record £127m into the game for the financial year ending 31 July 2017.

However, Glenn has also attracted criticism for comments during his tenure and has had to deal with various controversies.

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In March, he was forced to apologise after comparing the Star of David with symbols such as the Nazi swastika.

He had to manage the fallout from Mark Sampson’s dismissal as England women’s manager in 2017, after evidence of “inappropriate and unacceptable” behaviour with female players in a previous role, and also oversaw Sam Allardyce’s departure as England men’s manager after one game in charge.

Glenn supported the failed sale of Wembley Stadium, which fell through when businessman Shahid Khan withdrew his offer.

‘Transformed our organisation’

FA chairman Greg Clarke said Glenn leaves an organisation that is “fit for purpose, more diverse, internationally respected and ready to progress to the next level”.

“On behalf of the board of the FA I would like to thank Martin for building and leading a senior management team that has transformed our organisation,” Clarke said.

“His integrity, commitment, energy and passion for football has underpinned the improvements on and off the pitch. The resulting commercial success has funded hugely significant change in the women’s game, St George’s Park, the FA Cup and the national teams.

“I and the organisation will miss his effective, principled and compassionate leadership and wish him well.”

The Premier League said: “[We] would like to pay tribute to his excellent work leading the organisation.

“During his four-year tenure, the England men’s and women’s teams reached World Cup semi-finals, England age group teams achieved unprecedented success and the women’s game has continued to thrive.”

Glenn said he hoped the FA would build on his legacy by “accelerating the breakthrough of English-qualified players into the first teams”.

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“Running the FA has been a huge honour and a privilege but I have only been able to achieve what I have been able to thanks to everyone who works here,” he added.

Highs and lows of Glenn’s tenure

Analysis – ‘important achievements but no shortage of controversy’

BBC sports editor Dan Roan

Martin Glenn seems to be a popular and respected figure among FA staff at Wembley, but history will judge his tenure in one of British sport’s toughest roles as a mixed one, with no shortage of controversy alongside some important achievements.

He will always be remembered for his rather notorious admission that he was “not a football expert” in the wake of England’s Euro 2016 debacle. He also had to apologise after comparing the Star of David with symbols such as the Nazi swastika.

His judgement was also called into question by his subsequent decision to hire Sam Allardyce, who then stepped down after just one match in charge after a newspaper sting. He faced further criticism for failing to be more curious when he was made aware of a safeguarding investigation into former England women’s coach Mark Sampson in October 2015 – but did not ask to see the full report until almost two years later.

However, he deserves praise too. Glenn leaves the FA’s finances in a much healthier position that he found them. And in terms of elite performance, he can be truly proud of overseeing an unprecedented period of success in which England’s senior men and women’s teams reached World Cup semi-finals and their Under-17 and Under-20 teams became world champions.

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His diplomatic skills were important in securing a winter break for the Premier League, which will come in next season. But those skills failed to secure the support of FA councillors when he tried to sell the controversial idea of selling Wembley earlier this year. The FA deny this disappointment was why he resigned, but it would be a surprise if it did not play a role.


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