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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff
Jan 3, 2014

LMA hits out at ex-FA chairman

The League Managers Association (LMA) has hit out at former FA chairman David Bernstein after he accused bosses of setting a "terrible example" to players and the public with their touchline behaviour.

David Bernstein insists the FA is working to improve the number of English players in the Premier League
David Bernstein's remarks drew an angry response from the LMA.

Last month, Bernstein -- who received a CBE in the New Year Honours -- claimed managers harangued officials too often and did not show enough respect.

He said: "Some fantastic work has been done, but there seems to be a particular problem with the behaviour of managers.

"I have been involved with football for a long time and I do understand the pressures they are under -- but nevertheless, when you look at the constant protesting on the touchline, the harassing of the fourth official and the comments afterwards, it doesn't do anyone or the game any good."

He said he believed it was "time that managers assumed a much greater level of responsibility for their behaviour."

But those remarks drew a strongly-worded response from the LMA, which accused Bernstein of indulging in "megaphone commentary" and failing to "build any kind of meaningful relationship with our members" during his time at the FA.

In a statement that began by congratulating Bernstein on his CBE but continued by calling his judgment into question, the LMA said his remarks had been "misguided and unhelpful."

The statement said: "It is important to recognise that managers in professional football contribute significantly to the success of the game both on and off the field.

"Having spent their lives dedicated to the game, they value it, are committed to seeing it continue to grow and to contribute to its future direction.

"It is particularly sad, therefore, to find David Bernstein celebrating his CBE by engaging in a megaphone commentary from the sidelines and taking a unilateral swipe at managers having wholly failed to engage, in any meaningful way, with the LMA and its members during his tenure as FA chairman."

The statement said "any sensible organisation" with responsibility for leading a sport "should be anxious to engage with, and draw upon, a resource as significant as the pool of knowledge and expertise that exists within the ranks of the managers and coaches."

It said Bernstein would have achieved a "more effective and focused" leadership had he engaged better with the LMA and accused him of making "inflammatory" remarks.

And it concluded: "The LMA looks forward to an engaged and constructive dialogue with the new chairman of the FA, especially as David Bernstein failed to attend a single formal managers' meeting."

Everton boss Roberto Martinez said he felt Bernstein's comments had been "cheap".

"I always respect anyone involved in the game and who has a position in the game, whatever the authority or the association," he added.

"But I think it's very cheap to speak about the behaviour of managers unless you've been in that position. It would be great for anyone to try it -- then it would be easy to understand it because of the emotions.

"There are many situations that you have to control as a manager, and sometimes they are out of your hands. It's quite frustrating to accept that.

"I'll accept anyone's opinion, but I would always respect the opinion of a manager in those situations because you are in a unique position."

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