Burden Refuses to Work with FIFA, Withdrawing from FA Role

December 6, 2010

Roger Burden, acting Football Association (FA) chairman, has withdrawn his intent to apply for the permanent position following England’s 2018 World Cup bid failings. After being appointed in May, Burden had applied for the full post but has rescinded this, stating that he could no longer trust FIFA members following the recent host decision.

Burden sent out a scathing attack on FIFA, commenting: “I recognise that an important part of the role is liaison with Fifa, our global governing body. I’m not prepared to deal with people whom I cannot trust and I’ve withdrawn my candidacy.”

England received just two votes after it was revealed by many of England’s 2018 officials that they had been promised 6 to 8 votes from the 22 members of the FIFA executive committee.

“We were equal top of Fifa’s own technical assessment of the four bids,” continued Burden. “We were top of an independent assessment of the best commercial bids and our presentation on Thursday [December 2] was widely acclaimed as the best of the 2018 and 2022 bids. 

“Against this background, I am struggling to understand how we only achieved two votes. It is difficult to believe that the voting was an objective process.

“On top of that, Prince William, the Prime Minister and other members of our delegation were promised votes that did not materialise.” 

After stating that he was no longer willing to work with FIFA, Burden did confirm that he would remain as a member of the board at the FA. “I’m absolutely determined that I don’t want to do business with these people personally,” he added. 

“There may be people who have got different experiences to my own who feel they can make a difference and they can speak to Fifa and they are willing to do that, but it’s not within my experience. 

“I usually deal with people who I can trust and who are honourable people – it’s just something I’m not going to do.” 

Despite his own personal feelings on working alongside FIFA, Burden urged the FA not to sever its ties with the governing body.

“They are our governing body and it’s up to us now to find ways of dealing with them and getting some sense into the organisation and I’ll certainly be looking to do that. Walking away from Fifa I don’t think is the answer – they are our governing body and we must look for ways of working with them.” 

Burden, who had previously changed his mind on applying for the permanent position, has now reverted to his original stance in not putting himself forward. Burden became acting chairman following the departure of Lord Triesman earlier in the year and will remain as acting chairman until a successor can be found, with the FA due to name a permanent chairman early next year.