Middlesbrough’s decision to appoint Gareth Southgate as the club’s new manager looks set to go ahead later today without outright opposition from the League Managers’ Association.
Boro chairman Steve Gibson pushed ahead with his plans to appoint the 35-year-old former England centre-back despite initial opposition from the LMA.
The LMA have stepped back from outright opposition and have issued the following statement ahead of a press conference at 2pm at the Riverside Stadium where Southgate is to be unveiled as successor to England-bound Steve McClaren.
The LMA statement reads: “The LMA has the greatest respect for both Steve Gibson and Middlesbrough Football Club
“The association has said all it wishes to say on the subject of mandatory qualifications and so will not be joining any public debate over coach licensing and the FA Premier League rules.
“The Football Association and the Premier League are the guardians of their own rules and it up to those bodies to apply them.”
Boro’s decision to appoint the former Crystal Palace and Aston Villa central defender to succeed McClaren met with initial opposition as he does not have the required UEFA Pro Licence.
The LMA were against Southgate’s appointment from the outset but Gibson went ahead as he believed a precedent had been set by Newcastle’s appointment of Glenn Roeder.
FA Premier League rules state people without the Pro Licence can only take charge of a club for 12 weeks but the 20 club chairmen recently voted to allow Roeder dispensation.
Roeder had been enrolled on a Pro Licence course in the past but was forced to withdraw due to illness. He will now take the year-long course in order to be fully qualified by the end of next season.
Boro argued Southgate has so far been unable to acquire all his coaching qualifications because of his successful playing career.
Boro chief executive Keith Lamb told the club’s official website, www.mfc.co.uk: “Middlesbrough and Gareth should not suffer because he has had such a successful career at club and international level.
“Until recently Gareth has spent his summers serving his country as a player. It makes little sense such players should be denied rare opportunities like the one he now has simply because he hasn’t had the chance to gain the qualifications.”
Gibson has turned to Southgate, who won 57 caps for England, after talks with Terry Venables, Martin O’Neill and Alan Curbishley failed to bear fruit.
Before today’s statement LMA chief executive John Barnwell had said: “They can’t do it, it’s as simple as that.
“Gareth Southgate may be working towards becoming a coach but at this stage he hasn’t got the necessary qualifications to do the job.
“I would reiterate this is not an LMA matter, it is a UEFA directive and an FA Premier League rule.”