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By ESPN Staff

Lord Triesman to be independent chairman of FA

Government minister Lord Triesman has won the contest to become the first independent chairman of the Football Association.

The FA board have approved the recommendation of Triesman by a selection panel, and his name will now to go the full FA Council for approval on January 16.

Triesman will step down as a minister to take up the post.

An FA statement said: 'The FA's selection panel - chaired by Lord Mawhinney and consisting of Roger Burden, Sir Dave Richards and John Ward - unanimously decided to recommend Lord (David) Triesman as the FA's first independent chairman.

'This recommendation was approved unanimously by the FA board today and will be put to the FA Council on January 16 for their approval.

'Subject to this official appointment, it is hoped that Lord Triesman will take up his post as early as possible after this date. He will be stepping down from his ministerial post in the Government prior to taking up the chairmanship.'

Triesman said: 'I am delighted and very honoured to have this remarkable opportunity to help lead change at the heart of English football at the Football Association.

'I am confident we are capable of resuming our role as world leaders from Wembley to the sport played at every level.

'That is the challenge and that is my goal. I know it is passionately shared by the FA and everyone in English football.'

Mawhinney, who was chairman of the selection panel and also Football League chairman, said Triesman had all the qualities necessary.

He said: 'I am delighted that David Triesman has been the unanimous recommendation of our selection panel. He combines excellent managerial and leadership skills with a life-long passion for the game.

'Throughout his career, he has never shied away from taking strategically important decisions, and has delivered strong results.

'He has an infectious enthusiasm for football at all levels in England, I believe that he will play an invaluable role in developing our game in the years ahead.'

Triesman, 64, is a former general secretary of the Labour Party and he has told the FA he had no awareness and no involvement in the current controversies regarding the donation of funds to the Labour Party.

He is currently a minister at the department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. Before that he was a minister at the Foreign Office.

Triesman is also a former student radical who was a member of the Communist Party before he rejoined the Labour Party in 1977.

Triesman beat a number of high-profile challengers, including former Manchester United plc chairman Sir Roy Gardner and ex-sports minister Richard Caborn.

Caborn was the man who pushed through the Burns review that led to the decision for the FA to appoint an independent chairman. But he did not even get an interview - and it is thought his candidacy was blocked by Mawhinney.

Caborn, now the Prime Minister's 2018 World Cup bid ambassador, said: 'I welcome the appointment of Lord Triesman, someone I have known for many years, but I was surprised not to have been given an interview by the selection panel.'

James Purnell, secretary of state for culture, media and sport, said he would arrange to meet Triesman soon.

'I'm pleased the FA have appointed Lord Triesman as independent chairman. This is a very important appointment,' Purnell said.

'Having a dynamic and effective governing body is essential to the success of English football from the grassroots to the England team.

'Lord Triesman has an excellent track record and I'm sure he will provide the clear strategic leadership the FA needs. I look forward to meeting him soon and discussing how we can work together in the future.'