Football: FA in no hurry for new chief exec - Triesman

LONDON, March 23, 2010 (AFP) - Football Association chairman David Triesman insisted Tuesday the English governing body would not rush the appointment of a new chief executive following Ian Watmore's shock resignation.

The FA board announced Tuesday that chief operating officer Alex Horne had been asked to become acting chief executive with immediate effect.

Triesman added no permanent successor would be appointed before either the start of the World Cup in South Africa in June or the December vote on the hosts for the 2018 World Cup, which England's hopes of staging will not have been helped by Watmore's exit.

Press reports suggested Watmore, whose departure was announced on Monday after he'd had only been in charge since June, had been frustrated his plans for change had been blocked by the English Premier League (EPL).

But an FA statement, issued after an emergency board meeting here on Tuesday, said: "Further to reports following Ian Watmore's announcement, the board are clear that the Professional Game has not blocked proposals for change.

"Additionally, the board does not accept that Ian's departure is down to any one individual or any personality clash with Ian."

The statement added: "The board have invited current chief operating officer Alex Horne to take on the role of acting chief executive officer with immediate effect."

The statement expressed the board's "regret" over the departure of Watmore, a former civil servant known to Triesman from his time as a government minister, and said he would leave at the end of the month.

Triesman added that with board changes after the end of the season a possibility, it was important the new board had "the chief executive it wants."

He said that meant there was no chance of Watmore's permanent successor taking over before this year's World Cup or the 2018 vote.

"If we did that, we could only do it by failing to advertise, failing to get the right kind of candidate... so it's not a question of delay, it's just working to a timetable that gets the right result," Triesman told Sky Sports.

Watmore was the fifth FA chief executive to quit the post in just over a decade and there is a widespread perception the governing body has lost much of its power to the EPL.

"The structure builds in-conflict, which is hardly surprising given it is riven with conflicts of interest," former FA executive director David Davies told Sky Sports.

"If an organisation loses five chief executives in little more than a decade you can't really believe they were not all up to the job."

Triesman is also the chairman of England's 2018 World Cup bid, which has its own chief executive in Andy Anson.

But critics have said heading the World Cup bid is a job in itself.

This was something the FA appeared to acknowledge last month with the appointment of former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein as their 2018 "international president".

A joint bid from Spain and Portugal is considered the main opposition to England, while Russia and Australia are also among the leading contenders.

England's bid to stage the 2018 World Cup has been beset by internal feuding with Richards, still an FA board member, quitting the bid board in November just 10 days after Triesman had announced a streamlined team.

England have only staged the World Cup once, in 1966, when they won the competition for the only time in their history by defeating West Germany 4-2 after extra time in a Wembley final.

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