Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 April 2014

Richards rejects Triesman criticism

Sir Dave Richards

Sir Dave Richards has hit back at claims that he bullied Football Association board members into blocking reforms and said the accusations were "futile".

The Premier League chairman said he was a plain-speaking Yorkshireman but open-minded to change. Richards was attacked by former FA chairman Lord Triesman at a Parliamentary inquiry into football on Tuesday for his "aggressive" behaviour.

But Richards told ESPNsoccernet: "Bully the 12 people on the FA Board? Absolutely not. What a futile accusation."

He added: "I am not a bully, I, nor the Premier League, block any change at the FA, we would not block change because we want change, we are a progressive organisation and I was personally involved in changing the constitution of the FA back in 1996 to form the board capable of being progressive."

Richards insisted, however, that the Premier League would fight their corner if the FA tried to control the leagues.

He added: "The FA is in control of football's governance, football's regulations and of football's discipline, and that is how it should be.

"If the FA wants to run the professional game, the leagues and the Premier League then, of course, we all have a problem because the Premier League won't tolerate that kind of interference and we will fight our corner.

"I attend the FA board meetings about once a month, and I am one man's opinion among a board of 12. But I am entitled to my opinion as a representative of the Premier League.

"For good or bad, I speak my mind, and being a Yorkshireman I might not be as eloquent at speaking as some, but I say it as I see it."

Triesman accused the Premier League chairman of using the league's financial power to bully others in the game into blocking change.

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