Football: FA appoint Mr Bean as new `sleazebuster'

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The Independent Online
THE FOOTBALL Association yesterday announced the appointment of a 37-year-old police officer as its new `sleazebuster'.

Graham Bean, who will give up his job as a detective constable in the South Yorkshire police force to take up his new position in January, has been the national chairman of the Football Supporters' Association for the past two years.

Bean's new role - his official title will be Football Association Compliance Officer - will be to oversee issues of financial irregularities, drug abuse, racism, violent play and general misconduct within football.

"As compliance officer, he will be responsible for investigating and, where appropriate, prosecuting disciplinary cases and alleged breaches of the FA's rules and regulations," an FA spokesman said yesterday.

In high-profile cases of alleged misconduct by players, managers or clubs, Bean will investigate the evidence and recommend to FA chief executive Graham Kelly - who remains the overall decision-maker on such issues - whether action should be taken. If a personal hearing is then requested before an FA disciplinary committee, Bean will take on the role of prosecutor, which does not currently exist.

The FSA added in a statement: "We welcome the establishment of the post and hope the compliance officer and in time any future compliance unit will make a significant contribution to tightening up regulation within the game, particularly in relation to the financial affairs of individual clubs.

"We congratulate Graham and, although he will step down as FSA chair at the FSA national committee meeting on 15 November, we are confident that he will continue to represent the interests of fans competently and effectively in his new post."

Bean was elected national chairman of the FSA in July 1996 and in that capacity is a member of the Football Task Force headed by former MP and broadcaster David Mellor.

While at the FSA, Bean has also been involved in setting up a nationwide bank of solicitors and barristers with expertise in football-related law.

The role of a compliance officer was first proposed in Sir John Smith's report to the FA last year into the values, finances and reputation of football in the wake of the so-called `bungs' inquiry.

Other measures being introduced following the report are the establishment of a code of conduct, the modernisation of disciplinary processes and the setting-up of a financial advisory unit to give information to clubs. A short-list of 10 lawyers, police officers and people with a criminal justice background was drawn up for the new post, from which Bean was chosen.