FA door set to open for Sheepshanks

THE door could open today on David Sheepshanks becoming the most powerful man in English football.

The former Ipswich Town chairman could be the chief beneficiary if the Football Association board agree at this afternoon’s meeting to quash the stipulation that their chairman should have no links with any club.

Following the resignation of Lord Triesman, ex-Etonian Sheepshanks has been acting joint chairman with Roger Burden - the latter majoring on grass-roots issues.

Sheepshanks is still on the Ipswich club board and is chairman of the PLC which owns 12.5% of the club. He also chairs the Community Trust.

He would have opposition from other notable names like Phil Gartside (Bolton chairman) and David Gill (Manchester United chief executive), but he appears to be in pole position to succeed Lord Triesman if the changes go through.

The FA would make no comment last night other than to confirm that at today’s meeting the matter of abandoning its commitment agreed through the Burns reports three years ago to have an independent chairman was on the agenda.

But the process would take some time with a change to the FA constitution required and today’s decision would just be arecommendadtion.

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Suffolk FA chief executive Martin Head would be happy to see the Sheepshanks/Burden partnership continue, and he said:

“Last week’s council meeting was the best I have been to in three years.

“There was more unity between the professional game and grassroots football than I’ve experienced and a general agreement at the appointment of the Sheepshanks/Burden co-chairmanship.

“It that was to continue it would be well received.”

Sheepshanks, who brought current Blues owner and chairman Marcus Evans to Portman Road in December 2007, has always harboured dreams of high office and he is a former chairman of the Football League.

If the FA decide to elect someone within football as it’s figure head in World Cup final year it could trigger a clash with the new government.

New sports minister Hugh Robertson has already stated that the current situation is ‘non-negotiable.’

The current rules bar anybody who has been associated with a club or league in the last 12 months taking the job.

The FA needs strong leadership with England’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup finals gathering pace.

Sheepshanks was unavailable for comment last night, but he could emerge as the man to lead English football having taken a back seat at Ipswich since multi-millionaire Evans took control at Portman Road

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