Robin Scott-Elliot: Bernstein deserves credit for firm and decisive leadership
Saturday 04 February 2012
When John Terry was last relieved of his duties as captain of England it was a decision made by Fabio Capello. A four-man gathering of the Football Association's key suited players, including the chairman Lord Triesman, decided to leave the manager to have the final say. This time it was the chairman, David Bernstein, who took the lead and the chairman who informed Terry of his fate. The events of the last two days at the business end of Wembley Way have smacked of firm and decisive leadership, something that has not always appeared the FA way.
It is barely a year since Hugh Robertson, the Sports Minister, described football as the "worst-governed sport in this country". Less than a week after Robertson's declaration, which was aimed squarely at the FA, Bernstein took over as chairman of a body that was also still struggling to rediscover its direction after a clumsy and controversial bid to host the 2018 World Cup.
Bernstein fits the leadership mould that Iain Duncan-Smith once optimistically sought to attach to himself. The difference is that Bernstein is a quiet man who is proving able to make himself heard effectively.
Last summer he made a lonely and brave stand against Sepp Blatter's unopposed re-election as Fifa president. Since then he has worked (quietly of course) to successfully repair relations with Europe . He has also overseen the appointment of the first woman, Heather Rabbatts, to the FA board.
There is none of Triesman's fondness for a headline in Bernstein's approach. He is careful and guarded, an outlook that does not easily win allies, but so far he has got it right. It was his decision to make the running on Terry and take it out of the manager's hands, and he deserves credit for it.
Latest in Sport
Aaron Hernandez: American Football in the dock as NFL star player's murderous double life is revealed
Chelsea vs Manchester United: Why Blues are the least popular team in the league
Chelsea vs Manchester United combined XI: Thibaut Courtois or David De Gea? Juan Mata or Willian? Who makes our team?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: Where are the tickets for the fight?
Chelsea transfer news: Jose Mourinho plays down news signings Nathan and Yoshinori Muto but talks up Ruben Loftus-Cheek
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling