Football: Wiseman faces exit today

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The Independent Online
THE STUBBORN show of defiance that has been displayed by the Football Association's chairman, Keith Wiseman, is expected to be brought to an end when the game's ruling council meets today.

Wiseman's future has been in jeopardy ever since the FA's executive committee passed a vote of no confidence in him over the cash-for-votes scandal which sparked the resignation of the chief executive, Graham Kelly. There have been reports that the entire 10-man executive will resign if Wiseman holds on to power.

The 91-member full FA council will give its verdict today, and it seems virtually certain that Wiseman will be shown the door. If so, some high- profile hats will immediately be tossed into the ring.

The Ipswich Town chairman David Sheepshanks, the Arsenal director David Dein, and Wiseman's deputy, Geoff Thompson, are all said to be in the running, although, even if Wiseman is removed today, his replacement is unlikely to take office before March.

Wiseman insists he has done nothing wrong but, whatever happens, it seems certain that radical change is on the way. That could include the merging of the roles of chairman and chief executive, with one man carrying out the dual role.

Wiseman has vowed to fight his corner. He said: "I have already been tried twice as such, once by the executive committee and once by the media, but it has always been my intention only to put the full facts before the FA council - the constituents who voted me into office in the first place."

The outgoing owner of Tranmere Rovers, Peter Johnson, this weekend shed light on why he had delayed the sale of his interest in the club.

Johnson, who is also selling his majority shares in Everton, was originally given a New Year's Eve deadline by the Football and Premier League to sell his share in Tranmere, but this was extended.

A statement to Prenton Park fans before Saturday's third-round FA Cup tie against Ipswich Town read: "Mr [Frank] Corfe [Tranmere's chairman] commenced legal proceedings in which he claimed rights to certain interests in the club and sought to disrupt and delay the sale process.

"Mr Corfe's claims were strongly disputed and two weeks ago the legal action was withdrawn. In view of comments made by Mr Corfe in a recent press statement, Mr Johnson wishes to confirm that no payment has been or will be made to Mr Corfe in this connection and that Mr Corfe has no continuing involvement with, or financial interest in, the club."

The statement added: "Now that Mr Corfe's legal action has been withdrawn, the thorough process can proceed unhindered. Discussions are taking place with three interested parties and it is hoped that a new owner will take over Mr Johnson's interest early in the New Year."

Johnson was previously ordered to sell his interests in Rovers by both the Football and Premier Leagues before he stepped down as Everton's chairman last year.