England’s faltering 2018 World Cup bid has suffered a further setback with the surprise resignation of Premier League Chairman Sir Dave Richards.
Richards, who stated that he felt he could “best support a successful bid without the necessity of sitting on the board”, informed the FA and bid leader Lord Triesman of his decision with a letter of resignation.
The shock news arrives just days following a board restructuring which further goes to show the internal fighting that is hampering England’s chances of staging the World Cup in 2018.
Andy Anson, World Cup chief executive, said: “We thought we had sorted everything out two weeks ago, but we’re not worrying about what has happened. It is a decision that he’s made for personal reasons, the board accepted his decision and we’ve moved on and all we’re now focusing on is campaigning efficiently and building the best possible bid we can.”
Richards, who was ignored when the bid team was originally put together by Lord Triesman, was seen to be a valuable asset with his various contacts amongst Asia and Africa.
The Premier League chairman said: ”My positions as Premier League chairman, FA board member and chairman of the FA’s international committee provide me with ample opportunities to bang the drum for English football, and the bid particularly, right across the world, which I will continue to do wherever and whenever I can. My belief is that England has all the right attributes to host a successful Fifa World Cup – our challenge now is to convince the 24 members of Fifa’s executive committee of that. This must be our focus and priority going forward.”