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Bernstein to head English FA

LONDON, December 22 – Former Manchester City chairman David Bernstein has been nominated as the new chairman of the Football Association (FA), English football's governing body announced Wednesday.Bernstein, 67, is currently the chairman of Wembley Stadium, the 90,000-seater venue in northwest London where England play their home matches.

His nomination was unanimously approved by the FA board on Wednesday and he will take over as chairman if his appointment is endorsed by the FA council meeting on January 25.

Former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein had been the favourite to secure the post as the FA sought a high-profile leader following England’s failed bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

But nominations committee chairman Phil Gartside said Bernstein was "the outstanding candidate for the role".

"He combines strong business and leadership skills with tremendous insight and knowledge of football," Gartside, the Bolton Wanderers chairman, said.

Bernstein said: "I am honoured to be asked to take on the role as chairman of the FA.

"It is a tremendous challenge but I look forward to working with the board, the staff at the FA and everyone in football from local playing fields to Wembley and the international stage."

Bernstein replaced acting FA chairman Roger Burden, who withdrew as a candidate for the permanent position following England’s failed World Cup bid because he said he "could not trust FIFA", football’s global governing body.

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Burden welcomed Bernstein’s appointment by saying: "The board was united in its view that David would make an excellent choice as chairman of the organisation.

"I have worked with David for some years and have always been impressed by his professionalism and integrity."

Bernstein, an accountant, was City chairman for five years when the club secured the lease for their then new stadium at Eastlands and has been Wembley chairman since 2008.

His first task as FA chairman will be to press ahead with work on the long-delayed national football centre at Burton, central England and implement a review of international player development carried out by former England midfielder Sir Trevor Brooking and FA general secretary Alex Horne.

Former FA chairman Lord David Triesman resigned in May after a newspaper reported he had told a former aide that Spain could drop its attempt to host the 2018 event if rival bidder Russia helped bribe referees at this year’s World Cup in South Africa.

Triesman protested the conversation was private, saying he he was only commenting "on speculation circulating about conspiracies around the world" and that his comments "were never intended to be taken seriously".

A subsequent FIFA probe "found no indication that there is any basis to the allegations reported by Lord Triesman".

Spain won this year’s World Cup in South Africa while Russia won the right to stage the 2018 edition.

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