Exclusive - FA Chairman Dyke Holds First Talks with FIFA President

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Dyke speaking at Leaders in Football in London yesterday (Getty)
(WFI) English Football Association chairman Greg Dyke will hold talks with FIFA president Sepp Blatter in Zurich on Monday.

It will be Dyke's first official meeting with the Swiss since the 65-year-old, a former Manchester United director, succeeded David Bernstein at the helm of English football in July.

FIFA confirmed to INSIDER that Dyke, vice chairman David Gill, the former Manchester united CEO, and FA general secretary Alex Horne will meet Blatter and FIFA secretary general Jérôme Valcke at FIFA headquarters today.

“This is a very usual meeting whenever there is a new chairman in a member association. They will furthermore receive a presentation from the various divisions at FIFA,” a FIFA spokesman said.

Blatter last week returned from a visit to Sarajevo where the 77-year-old granted an award to Bosnia-Herzegovina on behalf of the International League of Humanists in recognition of the contribution made by the national team to the promotion of peace and tolerance in the country. Valcke was back in Zurich after a four-day host city tour in Brazil.

Dyke is expected to brief Blatter and Valcke about the commission he is forming which is charged with improving the fortunes of the England team. In a speech at Leaders in Football on Wednesday, he outlined his concerns and explained how he thought the commission could revitalise the national team following a string of poor performances in recent European Championships and World Cups.

Former England boss Glenn Hoddle, FA vice-chairman Roger Burden, League Managers Association chairman Howard Wilkinson, Professional Footballers' Association chief Ritchie Humphreys and Football League chairman Greg Clarke are among those so far been appointed to the committee. The Premier League rejected an invitation for its chairman Anthony Fry to join the commission, which is expected to report its findings in the spring.

Dyke hopes to get his relationship with Blatter off to a good start, continuing the work of Bernstein in improving The FA's relations with the FIFA chief following the wave of criticism that followed England's ignominious exit from the 2018 World Cup bid race in 2010.

The Qatar World Cup will also likely be a discussion point, following Dyke's thinly-veiled criticism of FIFA in August.

Weeks after he took over the reins, Dyke put pressure on FIFA by demanding a winter World Cup in 2022. He said the searing Qatari heat would be dangerous for players and, despite promises to air-condition every stadium, "impossible" for fans.

"FIFA have therefore got two choices. They can move it either time-wise or to another location. I suspect either will end up in some sort of litigation," he was quoted in the Daily Mail newspaper.

"But then someone should have worked that out in 2010 when it was awarded."

Ten days ago, Blatter announced that FIFA would establish a working group to assess whether the Qatar World should be moved from summer to winter. Overseen by Valcke, the task force made up of World Cup stakeholders including sponsors, leagues, associations and TV companies, will be led by Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa.

Dyke’s background in football includes being a director of Manchester United in the late nineties. Since 2006 he has been non-executive chairman of Brentford FC, the team he supported as a boy. He brings to the FA role his wide-ranging broadcasting experience. Dyke was a director general of the BBC and managing director of London Weekend Television.


By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson

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