BBC Sport football


Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 17:31 GMT, Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Ex-chairman Triesman says changing FA was "impossible"


Lord Triesman criticises football governance

Former Football Association chairman Lord Triesman says it was "impossible" to make the changes he wanted during his time in the role.

Triesman became the FA's first independent chairman in January 2008, before resigning last June.

"I regret that it turned out impossible to make the changes I think people really want," he told BBC Sport.

He added that a Premier League official had once told him the organisation was "in competition" with the FA.

Triesman resigned as chair of England's 2018 World Cup bid last May following a tabloid sting.

On Tuesday, he broke the silence he had maintained since then, when he appeared before a Parliamentary select committee investigating the way English football is run.

The Premier League is the ultimate authority in English football

Lord Triesman

Triesman told the committee that English football governance was "thoroughly unsatisfactory", adding "apart from onfield discipline, [the FA] has backed out of regulating completely".

True power in the game actually lies with the Premier League, Triesman argued.

"It [the Premier League] is the ultimate authority in English football," he said, in an exclusive interview with BBC sports editor David Bond, following his appearance before the select committee.

"The decisions that really decide what is going to go on in English football are taken by the Premier League," Triesman added.

"The control of the huge resources flows largely through them. It naturally enjoys a great deal of authority. But I have always thought that football is one sport.

"The interests have got to reach from Old Trafford right through to football played by kids organised in parks. You can't have just one interest dominating it.

"They once described their relationship with us, the FA, to me as being in competition and their brand needed to dominate and that I think is how I see it.

"If you accept it, you live with a very, very weak Football Association that doesn't really comply with Fifa's regulations."


Appearing before MPs on the culture, media and sport select committee, alongside Channel 4 chairman Lord Burns and former FA chief executive Graham Kelly, Triesman also said England's bid for the 2018 World Cup had "started on what turns out to be a completely false prospectus".

"I think there will be a time when the contact that I and others had with members of the executive committee should be described in detail because some of the processes I don't think stand up to proper scrutiny," he said.

"When we set off on the bid there was a huge amount of encouragement from Fifa.

"(That was) because we could do it, create tremendous returns, organise events of those kind and handle security.

"Had they said at the time that the aim was to break into new territories, then I would have advised the FA board not to start in the first place."

Triesman also suggested Premier League chairman Sir Dave Richards used aggressive tactics in negotiations with the FA.

"My experience is that he [Richards] would put his point politely in a board meeting," Triesman told the select committee.

"But discussions outside, across football generally but certainly with some people, are extremely aggressive discussions, really aggressive discussions.

"Points are made in a very colourful way - I wouldn't use that language."

Print Sponsor

see also
Is football fit for purpose?
08 Feb 11 |  Premier League
Scudamore defends transfer spree
04 Feb 11 |  Premier League
Scudamore supports new Uefa rules
17 Jan 11 |  Premier League
No finance bans for clubs - Scudamore
17 Jan 11 |  Football

related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites