Oct 10 2012
David Bernstein has identified his Respect agenda as the single most important task he faces as FA chairman.
Bernstein is ready to roll out a new Code of Conduct, possibly in time for England's friendly with Sweden in Gothenburg on November 14.
"I came into this position as chairman with five things I'd identified, one of which was respect, in its wider sense," he said. "Not just towards referees but player-to-player, the whole respect agenda. I'm beginning to think it's the most important thing I've got to deal with as chairman of the FA."
The implementation of the Code of Conduct will mark the end of a process that began in January, since when the FA have lost the services of Fabio Capello and John Terry, and found themselves bearing the brunt of Ashley Cole's outrageous Twitter rant which cast a shadow over Tuesday's landmark opening of the National Football Centre at St George's Park.
And whilst Bernstein is anxious to spell out no connection should be made to the code and the actions of Cole and Terry, who has still to decide whether he will appeal against his four-match ban for making a racist slur at Anton Ferdinand at Loftus Road in October last year, it is clear its publication cannot come quickly enough.
Cole sought out Bernstein on Monday night to personally apologise for labelling the FA "a bunch of T***s" on Twitter last Friday.
It was a reaction no-one could possibly excuse - and one it is hard to imagine being aired within a club environment where there is no such blurring of the lines between team selection and overall discipline.
Bernstein thinks so, not least because he gets the strong sense England's players actually want to be there.
"These guys share a desire to play for England. They really do value it," he said.
"But the FA is a complicated organisation. Having the whole regulatory side alongside Club England has created a degree of confusion. There has been a lack of clarity and the fact we haven't sat down with them has led to a bit of fuzziness."