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New FA chairman Bernstein defends under-fire Richards

By Dan Roan
BBC sports news correspondent

Man Utd chief executive David Gill and Sir Dave Richards
Richards (right) was criticised by former FA chairman Lord Triesman

New FA chairman David Bernstein insists his Premier League counterpart Sir Dave Richards has been "extremely co-operative" since he took the job.

Richards was accused of blocking reform by Bernstein's predecessor, Lord Triesman, on Tuesday.

Bernstein told BBC Sport: "There are of course natural tensions [in the game].

"But there's a mutuality of interest where the good of the national game is in all interests. Sir Dave Richards has been extremely co-operative."

Triesman, who was appointed the Football Association's first independent chairman in January 2008, appeared before a Parliamentary select committee investigating the running of the national game on Tuesday.

He revealed how frustrated he had been by the lack of "appetite for change" during his two and a half years in the job, and suggested Richards had been one of the main obstacles to reform.

I attended a Premier League meeting last week and had excellent discussions with Richard Scudamore and 14 of the 20 clubs

David Bernstein

But Bernstein, speaking on his ninth day as chairman, said he had found the Premier League and its leaders to be co-operative.

"I attended a Premier League shareholder meeting last week and had excellent discussions with both [chief executive] Richard Scudamore and 14 of the 20 clubs," he said.

"When I spoke to the FA Council two weeks ago I presented five main themes, one of which was relationships. It is very important to work and improve relationships in and out of the UK.

"Another thing I talked about was football in terms of England. It was important I took over as chairman of Club England immediately.

"I have already met with the Club England board and Fabio [Capello] and had good meetings.

"We have a good structure but we want to become like a club. I would like to cultivate the same support we see in the clubs.

"It is not easy, because we don't own the players. But we can take strides towards that and hopefully get used to winning."

Bernstein added he would also try to improve the FA's relationships with Uefa and Fifa, which Triesman said were not as strong as they should be.

"I am visiting Nyon on Friday to visit Michel Platini with the aim of improving our relationship with Uefa and then Fifa," said Bernstein.

And the former Manchester City chairman insisted he supported the select committee inquiry.

"The FA are fully supportive and will fully co-operate," he said. "We have already submitted written evidence and will appear in front of the committee at the end of March.

"It would be tempting to comment in light of yesterday, but we are not going to do it."

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see also
FA changes impossible - Triesman
08 Feb 11 |  Football
Bernstein appointed FA chairman
25 Jan 11 |  Football
Bernstein to become FA chairman
22 Dec 10 |  Football

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