ROGER Burden, the former FA acting chairman, has admitted he was “taken for a fool” by the FIFA hierarchy during last year’s ill-fated World Cup bid.
Burden was expected to replace Lord Triesman as FA chairman but withdrew from the running in protest at England’s performance in the 2018 World Cup vote, when they secured just one vote in addition to that of their own executive committee member Geoff Thompson. The outcome flew in the face of pledges given to Prince William during the last frantic days of lobbying, which had only reinforced the words Burden had heard for months.
“They took me for a fool when I actually thought they were treating me with respect,” said Burden. “I had no issue with Russia winning. But we came a very poor fourth. It felt to me they weren’t being fair.
“We put in a lot of resources, not just financial but there was a considerable amount of effort expended as well, and they put us through that. I didn’t like it.”
Burden is still furious now and does not regret the instant decision he took to step down from the chairman’s hotseat.
“I understand the FA has to have relationships with the governing body,” he added. “They are an important set of people. But it was something I wasn’t prepared to put up with, so I stood down.”