Football Premier League challenge to Millichip

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The Independent Online

Premier League challenge to Millichip

The Premier League, angry that a package of reforms they put to the Association has been rejected, are considering fielding a "professional" candidate for the post of FA chairman, which will come up for election next summer, writes Ian Ridley. The names of Arsenal's David Dein and Southampton's Keith Wiseman have been put forward. Ideas for streamlining the FA's decision-making process, agreed upon by the chief executives of the FA and Premier League, Graham Kelly and Rick Parry, were rejected by the full FA council earlier this month - unsurprisingly, perhaps, given that their own powers would have been eroded. Now the Premier League has responded by expressing "disappointment" and talking of the need to have their views more fully represented. "Our position is that the time has come for full recognition of the professional game, in particular the Premier League," says a league insider. "The next chairman should reflect our development." The present chairman, Sir Bert Millichip, has indicated that he would be willing to continue after the European Championship finals in June, despite being nearly 82, but is unlikely to stand should a contest develop, which now seems certain. Candidates must come from the FA council, and both Dein and Wiseman, vice- chairmen of Arsenal and Southampton respectively, fit that bill. It is thought that the Fulham chairman and TV analyst Jimmy Hill may also be willing to stand. Meanwhile, three friendly international matches have been confirmed for England in the build-up to the finals. Bulgaria will visit Wembley on 27 March with Croatia following on 24 April. Hungary are the opponents on 18 May. Between then and the tournament's first match against Switzerland at Wembley on 8 June, Venables hopes to take England abroad for a week for two matches, with the United States and South Africa at present being considered. With no international dates in January or February, Venables also plans a squad get-together in the next six weeks.