David Bernstein appointed FA chairman

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The Independent Online

Former Manchester City chairman David Bernstein has been nominated the new chairman of the Football Association, it was announced today.

Bernstein, 67, is currently chairman of Wembley Stadium and he will take over as FA chairman if, as is expected, his appointment is endorsed by the FA council on January 25.



Former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein had been the favourite to secure the post but Bernstein was recommended to the FA board by a nominations committee headed by Bolton chairman Phil Gartside.







Bernstein said: "I am honoured to be asked to take on the role as chairman of The FA. It is a tremendous challenge but I look forward to working with the board, the staff at the FA and everyone in football from local playing fields to Wembley and the international stage."



A chartered accountant, Bernstein was Manchester City chairman for five years, including the time they secured the lease for new stadium and Eastlands, and he has been Wembley chairman since 2008.



He also sits on the boards of several companies including French Connection, Ted Baker and Blacks Leisure, where he has been chairman since 1996. He is also President of the National Association of Disabled Supporters.



Acting FA chairman Roger Burden, who withdrew as a candidate earlier this month following England's failed bid for the 2018 World Cup on the grounds that he "could not trust FIFA", said: "The board was united in its view that David would make an excellent choice as chairman of the organisation.



"I have worked with David for some years and have always been impressed by his professionalism and integrity.



"We look forward to working with David to take the FA forward in the best interests of football at all levels across the country."



Gartside said: "David was the outstanding candidate for the role. He combines strong business and leadership skills with tremendous insight and knowledge of football."



Bernstein's first major tasks will be to drive forward work on the national football centre at Burton - now named St George's Park, and implement a review of international player development carried out by FA general secretary Alex Horne and Sir Trevor Brooking.



Horne added: "I very much look forward to working with David and together focusing on the priorities for the development of English football.



"We have a busy year ahead with work starting on St George's Park, the launch of the Women's Super League, England men's and women's teams competing in major competitions at a variety of age groups and a drive to implement the recommendations of our review into international player development."







Sports minister Hugh Robertson welcomed the announcement of Bernstein.



Robertson said: "I welcome the nomination of David Bernstein as chairman of the FA. He has a strong background both in the business and football worlds and I wish him every success in the role.



"The challenge for him will be to build a stronger Football Association and develop our national game at all levels. I look forward to meeting him in the New Year."









Bernstein, who admitted it is "not the easiest time" to take on the position, sees his role as involving close dealings with Fabio Capello and the England team.



He told Sky Sports News: "I've agreed, certainly with the people who interviewed me, that the chairman of the FA needs to be involved in major decisions concerning the England set-up."



The 67-year-old declined to comment on the FA's frosty relationship with FIFA following the 2018 World Cup vote and will spend the next few weeks settling into his new role.



He added: "I'll be working very hard. I'll speak to a lot of people over the next four or five weeks, within football and outside football, to understand the issues and get a consensus on a list of priority issues. I intend to be very open."



Under current rules, Bernstein would only be able to stay as chairman until he turns 70, but he is hoping that restriction might be lifted if his tenure proves successful.



Although he has experience in football, he considers the FA to be a very different challenge to his period at Manchester City.



"There's a lot to do. In terms of the changes that may be necessary and the general progress and taking things on, there's some similarity but no direct comparison with Manchester City," he added.

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