Football: Wiseman must go says Kelly

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The Independent Online
GRAHAM KELLY, the former Football Association chief executive who resigned amid the controversy surrounding a pounds 3.2m loan to his Welsh counterparts, insists that Keith Wiseman must follow suit today in the best interests of the game.

And Kelly says he is convinced that Wiseman, the FA chairman, will not survive a meeting of the governing body's 91-member Council this morning - if he does then his position will quickly become untenable.

Speaking in an interview for ITV's GMTV programme, Kelly said: "I find it difficult to think he [Wiseman] can stay as chairman given the executive committee is totally against his continuing. It's very difficult to see how him staying would be in the best interests of the Football Association because if he stayed he would be working with an FA Council that is totally split."

Wiseman has disputed claims that the grant to the FAW was made in return for Welsh backing for his failed attempt to join the world football governing body FIFA's executive. The Ipswich chairman David Sheepshanks, Arsenal director David Dein, Wiseman's deputy Geoff Thompson and Chelsea's chairman Ken Bates are all in line to replace him.

But, even if Wiseman is removed, his replacement is unlikely to take office before March at the earliest. Kelly added: "Ken Bates declared himself very early and he has a great number of qualities. He's provided a certain amount of those for the popular media. They're welcome to them. I think it is most likely that Geoff Thompson will take over at least until the new man is appointed, but it might not be until the summer."

Kelly quit as chief executive when it became clear that he could not persuade the FA's executive committee that the pounds 3.2million loan to the Football Association of Wales - sanctioned by him and Wiseman - was in the FA's best interests. Wiseman, who received a unanimous vote of no confidence from the governing body's executive committee, refused to resign as chairman preferring to justify his actions to the full FA Council. There have been reports that the FA's entire 10-man executive will resign en masse if Wiseman does manage to hold onto power. 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.

The chairman has vowed to fight his corner. He said: "It has always been my intention only to put the full facts before the FA council - the constituents who voted me into office."

Meanwhile the Manchester United manager, Alex Ferguson, has launched a verbal attack on the FA by saying they "haven't got a clue". He added that the FA would not be able to modernise their operation because "nobody's listening. They are never going to change the Premier League and trim it down to 19 clubs and 36 games. What you need to have is professional people in there."