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Page last updated at 10:04 GMT, Thursday, 28 October 2010 11:04 UK

Roger Burden keen on Football Association chairman post

Wembley Stadium
FA headhunters could broaden their list of targets after Wednesday's EGM at Wembley

By David Ornstein

Acting Football Association chairman Roger Burden has made a shock U-turn by declaring his interest in being considered for the full-time post.

The FA hopes to name Lord Triesman's permanent successor early in 2011 and Burden had initially ruled himself out.

But at an FA meeting on Wednesday, he announced he might now be a candidate.

Also at the meeting, a rule requiring the chairman to have been independent of any football post for 12 months prior to taking the job was abolished.

This goes against the only significant recommendation that was adopted following a structural review of the FA by Lord Burns in 2005.

And it means headhunters can now draw up a list of names from both inside and outside of football before presenting it to an nominations committee, which is to report back to the FA board.

Once the board has conducted interviews and gained ratification of its chosen candidate from the 114-strong FA council, an appointment will be made.

But no interviews will take place until after the vote to decide the hosts of the 2018 World Cup on 2 December, so the FA's intention to make an announcement early in the new year could be optimistic.


Individuals linked with the post from outside of football include entrepreneur Sir Alan Sugar, Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy and British Airways chairman Martin Broughton, the current Liverpool chairman.

Reported candidates from within the game include Manchester United chief executive David Gill, former Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry and former Arsenal and FA vice-chairman David Dein, who is international president of England's 2018 World Cup bid.

Until an appointment is made, Burden will remain at the helm and, despite originally distancing himself from the position, he now appears to be in the frame.

Burden, who has risen through the FA's ranks and is chairman of the Gloucestershire FA and the National Game Board, shared the acting chairman role with David Sheepshanks for the first week post-Triesman.

Former Ipswich chairman Sheepshanks has sat on several FA boards and is chairman of the proposed National Football Centre in Burton-upon-Trent.

No interviews will take place before the World Cup vote because the FA is anxious not to further damage England's bid, which has not been helped by the departures of Triesman and FA chief executive Ian Watmore.

Triesman quit his roles with the FA and England 2018 after the Mail on Sunday published a conversation in which the 66-year-old suggested Spain could drop its bid if rival bidder Russia helped bribe referees at last summer's World Cup.

One subject which was not be on the agenda at the EGM at Wembley was the recommendation made by Lord Burns in 2005 that two independent non-executive directors be appointed to the FA board.

Malcolm Clarke, chairman of the Football Supporters' Federation and the only fans representative on the FA council, tried to table a motion discussing the introduction of non-executive directors.

Clarke sent a letter to all 1,120 FA shareholders and needed 5% of them to back the motion but he received just over 1% support - and the issue cannot even be discussed at the EGM.

As all major FA decisions have to come through the council, it is difficult to envisage how English football's governing body will ever adopt Lord Burns' recommendation - unless the government intervenes.

Football's world governing body Fifa fiercely objects to government interference in the administration of the game but Clarke said Minister for Sport Hugh Robertson had written to him supporting his efforts.

"The Minister for Sport said a reasonable quid pro quo for abolishing the one-year rule [for the appointment of a new chairman] would have been the addition of two further independent board members as recommended by Lord Burns," Clarke told BBC Sport.

Clarke added that he may attempt to table his motion again at the FA's Annual General Meeting in May 2011.

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see also
FA unfit for purpose, says Caborn
05 Jul 10 |  Football
Capello to remain as England boss
02 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Pressure on FA after England exit
28 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Horne named FA general secretary
27 May 10 |  Football
Burden does not want FA top job
26 May 10 |  Football
Gill and Parry backed for FA role
17 May 10 |  Football
Sugar eager for FA chairman post
17 May 10 |  Football
Triesman quits FA & 2018 Cup jobs
16 May 10 |  Football
FA holds talks after Watmore exit
23 Mar 10 |  Football
Watmore installed as new FA boss
18 Feb 09 |  Football
Barwick to leave post as FA chief
21 Aug 08 |  Internationals
What the Burns report says
12 Aug 05 |  Football

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