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Crozier resigns as English FA chief executive

© Reuters 2002

LONDON, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Adam Crozier, English soccer's top administrator, resigned as chief executive of the Football Association on Thursday after clashes with other leading officials over how the game should be run.

The 38-year-old, who took over at the FA in January 2000, had been under pressure because of disagreements over commercial deals involving the England team.

FA spokesman Paul Newman said Crozier's decision would not affect the position of England coach Sven Goran Eriksson who was brought in by the Scot and had backed his position earlier in the week.

"Sven is the England coach, full stop," FA spokesman Paul Newman told Reuters. Asked if there would be any ramifications for Eriksson, Newman said: "None whatsoever".

"I've spoken to Sven - he's devastated by the news but equally he will carry on in his role," Newman said.

"Adam is a top professional doing an excellent job. He's a decent man who has been working in the best interests of English football. How sad that he finds he has to resign," he said.

FA chairman Geoff Thompson said Crozier's decision to quit had been based on two factors - that the three-year programme he initiated in January 2000 was coming to a natural end and because of a difference of opinion over how the game should be run and regulated.

"It is on this second issue that Adam does not feel he can compromise and I fully respect his point of view," Thompson said in a statement.

One of the main points of contention between Crozier and Thompson was the Scot's allegedly autocratic style of management.

Crozier recently angered leading premier league officials, who represent the interests of the top clubs, by signing a sponsorship deal for England players without consulting them.

Newspapers also reported clubs had been unhappy with Crozier's refusal to pay them when their players appeared for the England team.

Thompson said Crozier had led the transformation of the FA into "a successful, modern organisation, which I know is now respected throughout the world in sport and in business.

"Adam has always set ambitious and motivating targets for the FA and its people and he has surpassed all our expectations by meeting his objectives and bringing about important and progressive changes to the way we run our organisation.

"As this is essentially a professional difference of opinion there are, therefore, no personal issues whatsover on either side," Thompson said.

Crozier, who joined from advertising group Saatchi and Saatchi, replaced Graham Kelly with a brief to lead the often hidebound FA into the 21st century and he has overseen a period of fundamental change in the organisation.

It was Crozier's decision to bring in Eriksson as the first non-Englishman to lead the England squad in late 2000.

Despite widespread criticism at the time, his choice proved a masterstroke with the Swede taking the team to the World Cup finals after winning their qualifying group.

Crozier led the FA's modernisation, taking the organisation to new headquarters in central London's Soho Square from the old Lancaster Gate, and he was pivotal in sealing the deal for the construction of a new national stadium at Wembley.

"Adam has achieved much in a difficult environment," said the FA's vice chairman David Dein.

Crozier will remain with the organisation "for some time" to ensure a smooth handover.

Crozier said: "It will be difficult for me to leave a job that I have enjoyed so much and which has given me so much satisfaction. It has been a privilege to have combined my love of football with my career.

"I will however leave the FA with a sense of pride in our achievements and satisfaction with the progress we have made."

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