Re-Structuring of Bid Revealed
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ENGLAND 2018 bid leaders today announced a major re-structuring of its board to try and end the recent turmoil that has blighted the campaign.
A new streamlined executive board has been appointed following an emergency meeting today that will be responsible for England's 2018 strategy and day-to-day running of the bid.
Significantly it includes FIFA vice-president Geoff Thompson who had been bafflingly omitted from the original board.
Chaired by Lord Triesman, the streamlined board will include Thompson alongside Premier League chairman Sir Dave Richards, Football League chairman Lord Mawhinney, Lord Coe, Paul Elliott and chief executive Andy Anson.
Original board members such as David Gill, Sir Keith Mills and sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe will join an advisory group headed by Karren Brady.
Coe, the man who led London to win the 2012 Olympics, said the changes could have a dramatic effect.
Coe said: "I am particularly pleased Geoff Thompson has joined the board with his wealth of international experience.
"The new board will play a pro-active role in leading the bid with the former board members, such as Keith Mills and Martin Sorrell, in key campaigning roles. This restructure will put us in a stronger position to drive the campaign forward both domestically and internationally over the next 13 months."
Triesman said: "We've got to a point where the England 2018 campaign requires focus, determination and where everybody involved has a specific purpose to help us win the bid. In our view, these changes reflect a positive development and send a loud message of an absolute determination to bring the World Cup tournament to England."
Thompson added: "The World Cup bid is a tremendous opportunity for English football and the nation as a whole to showcase its facilities, its hospitality and its overall ability to stage the greatest tournament in the world. I am delighted to be involved on the new board."
Triesman will meet the sports minister weekly to update him on progress, but there is no place on the advisory committee for Richard Caborn, the Prime Minister's bid ambassador.
Caborn yesterday publicly expressed his view the bid needed re-organisation and a new direction, and said the Government were prepared to have a reduced role if necessary.
Bid leaders insist however this change is not a reaction to Government pressure.
It had become obvious change was needed however. The criticism of the bid by FIFA vice-president Jack Warner was badly handled, and the furore over gifts of Mulberry handbags was dealt with even more clumsily.
The effect was to set back a campaign that was already dogged by divisions over funding and strategy.
The new streamlined board should at least reduce the bureaucracy and give more power to people such as Coe, Thompson and Richards who know the FIFA members the best and are in the best position to influence their votes.
Triesman added: "This is the most competitive World Cup bid in history and while the England 2018 bid is well placed to succeed, it will only do so if football, and all those involved in the bid, remain supportive of the campaign and the bid team. Today we have received the clearest indication that The Premier League and the Football League are united with us.
"The new board will provide focused leadership to the team and will work closely together to maximise England's message to the world. The new board is totally united in its commitment and I am looking forward immensely to working with my colleagues within this new set-up."
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