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Tuesday, December 15, 1998 Published at 22:58 GMT

Sport: Football

Mellor tells 'FA blazers' to quit

David Mellor (left): FA needs 'overhaul'

The head of the government's Football Task Force has called for the "old men in blue blazers" of the English Football Association to go in the wake of the Graham Kelly resignation.

David Mellor: "The FA is wholly and patently inadequate to manage a national game"
David Mellor accused the sport's national governor body of being "amateurish" and suggested that his body may recommend bringing in statutory regulation to oversee the sport.

Mr Mellor spoke out as Graham Kelly made his first public statement on the affair saying he had tried to act in the best interests of the game.

But speaking to BBC Radio Five Live, he attacked the FA for failing to properly implement changes recommended by his own body and others.

The government set up the Football Task Force after the General Election in a bid to overhaul many aspects of the sport, including the concerns of fans.

Commenting on the resignation of Mr Kelly, the FA's chief executive, and calls for the chairman Keith Wiseman to go, Mr Mellor said: "I think it is confirmation of a long standing feeling that I have that that administration of the game has not kept pace with modern developments.

[ image: Peter Ridsdale: Calls for better promotion]
Peter Ridsdale: Calls for better promotion
"This could not have happened if the FA was regulated and run like any modern management."

Asked if he would now consider recommending regulation for the sport, Mr Mellor said: "The case grows more and more compelling as each day passes and each faux pas emerges from the Football Association.

"They cannot even put a single black face on the FA ruling council despite the request of my task force.

"It is time for the old men in the blue blazers to move over.

"This is a ramshackle organisation that has not kept up to date."

Ridsdale calls for change

One of the first club chairmen to speak out over the row called for new faces at Lancaster Gate who would be capable of promoting the sport's interests.

Leeds Utd chairman Peter Ridsdale: "Whoever takes over has to be steeped in football"
Peter Ridsdale, Chairman of Premiership club Leeds United, said he had always found Mr Kelly "impeccably behaved".

And he underlined that England's bid to host the 2006 World Cup finals should be based on the country's facilities and not those who run the game.

But he added: "For two long now we have had people in charge who have not got the personality to project the game.

"The change may be for the good of football.

"Graham Kelly was a superb administraton. But one of his weaknesses may have been that he did not project the game the way it should be in this country."

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