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Page last updated at 19:32 GMT, Thursday, 12 November 2009

England 2018 bid team streamlined

By James Pearce
BBC sports news correspondent

England World Cup bid logo
The new streamlined board will now consist of seven members

Manchester United chief David Gill and ex-Birmingham director Karren Brady are among six members of England's 2018 World Cup bid board to have stood down.

Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe plus Sir Keith Mills, Sir Martin Sorrell and Simon Johnson are the others.

Ex-Football Association chairman Geoff Thompson has joined the new seven-man board, chaired by Lord Triesman.

The decision was unanimous and was an attempt to streamline the decision-making process.

The removed members will instead be part of an advisory group, to be led by Brady, which will advise the board.

The key to the announcement of board changes is the appointment of Thompson to the board. Thompson is the only English member of the Fifa Executive Committee - the 24 men who vote on the World Cup hosts.

Thompson was not on the original board. He has had a frosty relationship with Lord Triesman, the current FA chairman, who is also chairman of the England 2018 bid.

The changes were orchestrated by Lord Coe and Mills, the chairman and deputy chairman of the London Olympic Organising Committee.

The new board is totally united in its commitment

Lord Triesman

Coe and Mills, who won the Olympics for London, were both on the original England 2018 board and they have been working behind the scenes to get Thompson onside.

They took Thompson out for dinner last week and secured his agreement to take a place on the board. Coe and Mills were adamant that it was vital that the only English voter should be on the board.

So it was Coe and Mills who suggested that the 2018 board should be streamlined and less political. Hence the departure of the sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe from the board.

The changes follow criticism of the leadership of Lord Triesman and the handling of a number of issues, including the gift of luxury handbags to the wives and partners of the 24 Fifa voters.

After the meeting Lord Triesman said: "In our view, these changes reflect a positive development and send a loud message of an absolute determination to bring the World Cup tournament to England.

"We've got to a point where the England 2018 campaign requires focus, determination and where everybody involved has a specific purpose to help us win the bid.

"England would stage a truly memorable World Cup. We are a football mad country, with some of the world's best leagues, stadiums and above all fans.

"The new board will provide focused leadership to the team and will work closely together to maximise England's message to the world.

2010 World Cup chief executive Danny Jordaan urges England to up the ante

"The new board is totally united in its commitment and I am looking forward immensely to working with my colleagues within this new set-up."

Thompson said: "The World Cup bid is a tremendous opportunity for English football and the nation as a whole to showcase its facilities, its hospitality and its overall ability to stage the greatest tournament in the world."

As well as Lord Triesman and Thompson, the new board will include Premier League chairman Dave Richards, Football League chairman Brian Mawhinney, Lord Coe, Paul Elliott and chief executive Andy Anson.

Initial reaction to the board changes seems to have been positive.

Some will be unhappy that Lord Triesman is remaining at the helm, but the reality is that there is a lack of candidates to replace him.

The challenge for Triesman will be to improve his relationship with Thompson and to keep the new board united.

Countries bidding to host the World Cup

2018 or 2022: Australia, Belgium-Netherlands (joint bid), England, Indonesia, Japan, Portugal-Spain (joint bid), Russia, US

2022: Qatar, South Korea

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see also
Fifa man hands back England gift
04 Nov 09 |  Football
2018 bid gives handbags as gifts
23 Oct 09 |  Football
Warner rates Nigeria chances
02 Nov 09 |  African
England 'must improve 2018 bid'
07 Oct 09 |  Football
Argentines back England Cup bid
17 Sep 09 |  Football
West Brom back 2018 World Cup bid
05 Aug 09 |  West Brom
Rivals unite for World Cup bid
23 Jul 09 |  Merseyside
Beckenbauer boost for England bid
05 Jul 09 |  Internationals
2012 stadium 'for World Cup bid'
30 Jun 09 |  London
Triesman calls for World Cup bid support
18 May 09 |  Internationals
Pele backs England World Cup bid
07 Nov 07 |  Football

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