FA hints at chairmen power

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The Football Association is to adopt a policy of conciliation and control in response to the club chairmens' latest attack on their authority.

Sir Bert Millichip, the chairman of the FA, has hinted at allowing the Premier League's ambitious chairmen greater power, in a letter to all FA Council Members.

However, he also warned the more aggressive chairmen that the FA alone is recognised by Fifa, the world governing body, and that no other group would be allowed to run the game.

The letter, which has been released to the media, is a thinly-veiled reply to comments made a fortnight ago by Sir John Hall, the chairman of Newcastle.

Hall accused the FA of being "amateurs" running a professional game and threatened to wrest control from the FA if they were not granted power-sharing.

The Premier League was set up by the FA as part of its campaign to emasculate the Football League, but it fears it has "created a monster". The two groups - both based at the FA's Lancaster Gate headquarters - have already clashed on assistance for the England team and further disputes are ahead, notably over proposals for a second division of the Premiership.

In his letter to the 88 council members (that is their number, not their average age) the octogenarian Millichip stressed the FA was "deeply concerned" about suggestions that smaller clubs may have to "go to the wall" and pledged that the FA "would do everything in their power to prevent any such thing happening."

The chairmen have also begun campaigning to reduce the influence of the players' union, the Professional Footballers' Association. They may prove far more difficult opponents than the FA.