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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bernstein Promises To Be A "Hands-On" FA Chairman

(AFP) David Bernstein said he expected to play a role in deciding the future of under-pressure England manager Fabio Capello after being nominated as the new chairman of the Football Association (FA).

The board of English football's governing body announced Bernstein, an ex-chairman of Manchester City and the current chairman of Wembley Stadium, the 90,000-seater venue in northwest London where England play their home matches, as their unanimously approved candidate on Wednesday

Bernstein, 67, will take over as chairman if his appointment is endorsed by an FA council meeting on January 25.

The FA stuck with Capello, whose contract is due to expire after Euro 2012, despite England's poor display at this year's World Cup in South Africa where the Italian's side crashed out in the second round.

Many previous FA chairmen have been figureheads but Bernstein, asked if he would be involved with Fabio Capello and the England players, told Sky Sports: "Certainly with Fabio Capello.

"I agreed with the people who interviewed me that the chairman of the FA needs to be involved with major decisions concerning the England set-up."

As for whether he would decide Capello's future, Bernstein added: "I didn't say that, that's a board matter generally but I will be involved in deciding his future for sure."

Former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein had been the favourite for the FA chairmanship as officials sought a high-profile leader following England's failed bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

But nominations committee chairman Phil Gartside said Bernstein was "the outstanding candidate for the role".

Bernstein is set to succeed acting FA chairman Roger Burden, who withdrew as a candidate for the permanent position following England's failed World Cup bid because he said he "could not trust FIFA", football's global governing body.

Sebastian Coe, who led London's successful bid to stage the 2012 Olympic Games, insisted it was vital Bernstein improved the FA's relations with FIFA.

"I think it's very important when the (English) game takes stock, it identifies those people that they can get into senior and key positions in FIFA and in the international game," Coe, an advisor to the England 2018 team, said.

"The advantage we (London) had when we were bidding for the Games is that actually a number of us were insiders," the double Olympic champion added.

Bernstein was coy about England's relations with FIFA, saying: "I'd rather duck that at this stage. I assure you I won't duck it in the longer term."

His mix of business and football experienced made Bernstein, an accountant who is on the boards of several British companies, an attractive candidate for the post of FA chairman.

Bernstein was City chairman for five years during which time the now Premier League club moved from Maine Road to Eastlands and has been Wembley chairman since 2008.

David Triesman, a former British government minister, resigned as FA chairman in May after a newspaper reported he had told a former aide Spain could drop its attempt to host the 2018 World Cup if rival bidder Russia helped bribe referees at this year's edition.

A subsequent FIFA probe "found no indication there is any basis to the allegations".

Spain won this year's World Cup, with Russia winning the right to stage the 2018 tournament.
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