ZURICH: A tiny smattering of English representation across the wide swathe of FIFA’s reorganised standing committees illustrate that the Football Association is very much on trial some seven months after chairman David Bernstein’s intervention at FIFA Congress in Zurich.
Bernstein, in office officially little more than four months, proposed that the world federation postpone its presidential election – in which Sepp Blatter was by then unopposed – while potential other candidates were sought.
A mixture of FIFA vice-presidents and other national association delegates duly rose to state their opposition to Bernstein’s idea which was roundly defeated. Many observers considered it unwise behaviour, given all the circumstances; Bernstein had even defied a request to hold off from his UEFA colleagues.
The price English football has paid is now in evidence by anyone who may glance through the make-up of the 39 FIFA committees on the world federation’s website. Bernstein himself has been appointed only to the Committee for Fair Play and Social Responsibility – one of just 11 English committee representatives.
FA general secretary Alex Horne and Kelly Simmons – for women’s football – have retained committee seats but Sir Trevor Brooking, FA deputy chairman Barry Bright, former referee David Elleray and Club England managing director Adrian Bevington were overlooked.
Brooking had been nominated by the FA for a place on the Football Committee. Conversely and pointedly, its English representative will be Richard Scudamore, chief executive of the Premier League.
Other English committee members are Mark Adams, the International Olympic Committee’s communications director, Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis and Geoff Thompson, the former FA chairman who continues to chair the Player Status Committee.