Pressure group support Jose over Dein

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The Independent Football

The Chelsea manager was taking a swipe at David Dein, the influential vice-chairman of both Arsenal and the FA, when he made his comments last week. Sports Nexus back him in calling for less potential conflict of interest and describe the FA as a "powerless poodle of big business".

The highly critical document, written by two professors of Birkbeck College, London, has been timed to precede publication of Lord Terry Burns' independent review of the FA's structure, which has been promised by the end of this month. Burns, who has already made public an interim report, is expected to agree with some of its recommendations, like independent board members and a stronger Compliance Unit, but not with more radical ones, like cutting the 92-strong FA Council to 25.

According to Phillip Snape, the director of Sports Nexus, the authors started from the standpoint of "trying to discover why the FA constantly fails in its duty to stand up for the national game". They have listed a top 20 of the organisation's "worst decisions" of recent years, which include encouraging the breakaway Premier League; allowing directors to make money by floating clubs on the Stock Exchange; not supporting the majority findings of the Task Force; permitting Wimbledon to move to Milton Keynes; and allowing the Glazer family to take over Manchester United without applying a rigid fit and proper persons test beforehand.

Sports Nexus have also commissioned a poll by YouGov, which claims that 62 per cent of football fans were either "not very confident" or "not confident at all" in the FA's ability to make the right decision on crucial questions about the future of the sport. A similar number felt that the FA required major changes in structure and practice.

"The poll shows that the FA fails in its duty to work in the interests of the national game," Snape said. "Time and again the FA has been told to modernise. Time and again it has dismissed such calls with sometimes tragic consequences.

"The FA is at a crucial point in its existence. It either modernises and claims back its prominent position as guardian of the national game, or continues on its current path, powerless, impotent and the poodle of big business."

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