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Fans’ regret at World Cup bid damage

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

Football supporters have expressed regret at the resignation of Football Association (FA) chairman Lord David Triesman and criticised the potential damage to England’s World Cup bid caused by the Mail on Sunday.

In a joint statement Supporters Direct (SD) and the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) called upon all involved to refocus their energies on protecting and promoting England’s World Cup bid.

Both organisations called for new sports minister Hugh Robertson’s involvement to ensure the strongest possible candidates are appointed to the FA’s two most important jobs, and praised Lord Triesman’s role as a catalyst for a series of important reforms both at the FA and across the game.

Football Supporters’ Federation chair Malcolm Clarke said:

“The first priority now is to protect and promote the England World Cup 2018 bid. The Mail on Sunday has grievously endangered the bid with the worst sort of journalism and all involved should hang their heads in shame. Many football supporters will think long and hard before buying the Mail on Sunday.

“It is sad that David felt the need to resign over what he believed was a private conversation with a friend but the fact is that the FA has now lost its chief executive and chairman within a matter of weeks. This is a real opportunity for the FA to reassert its role as English football’s governing body.

“The appointments of both the new chairman and chief executive must be conducted in accordance with the highest, most transparent standards. New appointments will need to command respect at all levels of the game from the grassroots to the professional ranks. The last thing we want to see is a weak appointee who meekly surrenders to any of football’s warring factions.

“Our national game desperately needs strong and independent leadership.”

Supporters Direct chief executive Dave Boyle added:

“The last time the FA was engulfed in this kind of scandal, we got the Burns review. We don’t need to have the review this time – we just need to see the Burns recommendations implemented in full. With the World Cup bid in process, action is needed to reassure the world that someone is actually in charge of our national game.

“We all know the FA’s governance has been dysfunctional, so its very hard to be full of confidence about how these two critical appointments will be made, so we call on the new sports minister, Hugh Robertson to use his influence to ensure that the composition of the search committee commands confidence and the wider appointment process is open and fair. It goes without saying that we believe supporters should have a say in this process, along with the game’s other stakeholders”

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