Bernstein and Scholes voice fears

27 June 2014 08:46

Former Football Association chairman David Bernstein sees no end to England's under-performance in major tournaments.

Roy Hodgson's side were knocked out of the World Cup at the group stage after managing just a single point from their three games in Brazil.

Bernstein's successor Greg Dyke has come under fire from former England midfielder Paul Scholes, who claimed England will be "lucky to qualify" for the 2022 tournament in which Dyke has targeted victory.

And Bernstein told the Daily Telegraph: "We've been knocked out of the World Cup again and this compounds 40 years of under-performance. We've had different managers, different players and, by and large, the same results.

"Is there a connection between that and governance-structure issues? Of course there is. As in any organisation, if you're not right at the top, the rest won't be right. "

Bernstein blamed the influence and wealth of the Premier League for the FA's difficulties.

"The Premier League has £3billion-£ 4billion of income and is a fantastic product, nobody disputes that," he said. "The FA has £300million, less than one tenth of the income. So it's outgunned financially.

"The Premier League exercises considerable influence over the game and over the FA. It has strong representation on the FA board.

"The FA council is outmoded and sits below a very obscure shareholder structure. It drives what is a very good FA executive crazy. They feel they're being smothered by a blanket.

"The FA is not capable, in my view, of self-reform a nd without change, we will continue with this disappointing cycle. Real progress is not possible. It will need legislation or a regulator imposed to make the changes."

Dyke's England Commission has proposed a reform plan for the national game, including inserting a B-team league in the football pyramid, in a bid for long-term success.

His targets are for England to reach the Euro 2020 semi-finals and aim for World Cup glory two years later.

But Scholes wrote in his blog for Paddy Power: "Greg Dyke, the chairman of the Football Association, believes that proposed changes to the league system could help England win the World Cup in 2022.

"From what I've seen at this World Cup, we'll be lucky to qualify. I fear England are going the way of the Republic of Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

"England can take some positives. Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge and Ross Barkley, even though he didn't start the first two games, are a sign of the future - fast, intelligent footballers. But otherwise I'm struggling."

Dyke's B-league plan is aimed at increasing the number of English players starting for Premier League sides, with only 32 per cent of starters in the 2012-13 Premier League season qualified to play for England according to the commission's report.

Former Manchester United star Scholes acknowledges that is a major issue to be addressed and feels the inflated prices paid for English players - citing his former club's reported £34million move for Southampton full-back Luke Shaw - have led to a glut of "average" imports.

"Compared to La Liga and the Bundesliga, English players are not getting enough first-team time in the Premier League," said Scholes.

"We're going backwards from 1990 and the era of Paul Gascoigne and that conveyor belt of talent. Simply, the Premier League is riddled with average foreign players. This is having a detrimental effect on the opportunities for young English talent and our international results.

"Players as talented as David Silva, Robin van Persie, Sergio Aguero and Eden Hazard only make the Premier League stronger. But it seems the Premier League is known as a market for average players (or their agents) to say: 'I'll go to England and they'll pay me stupid money to play'.

"The proposed £34m transfer for Luke Shaw to United is another example of something which has a bad long-term impact. Clubs are priced out of this market which is why they go abroad for cheap options. For a left-back to be worth £34m shows how silly the game has gone."

Source: PA