FA given deadline to publish governance plan

The UK government told the English Football Association on Wednesday to work with its partners and publish a plan to improve football governance by February 2012.

The FA has been widely criticised following England's failed bid to host the 2018 World Cup and the perceived anachronistic make-up of its board, with just under half the members coming from outside the professional game.

"I believe that there are improvements that can be made in the governance arrangements, which have failed to keep up with the changing pace of the modern game," UK Sports Minister Hugh Robertson (pictured) said in a statement.

"I do not want government to run football, so this is an opportunity for the football family to work together to benefit the game in the long-term."

Football's world governing body FIFA takes a dim view of governments interfering in football and has handed down heavy sanctions in the past.

The government has set out a number of recommendations for the future of football including looking at the creation of a modern, accountable and representative FA board and changes to the FA's decision-making structures.

The response follows a report from a committee of British members of parliament who slammed football governance in the wake of Portsmouth becoming the first Premier League club to go into administration in 2010.

FIFA has also come under pressure to reform following a string of corruption scandals but FA chairman David Bernstein, a surprise appointment to run English football last December, said he was "not holding his breath" about any global changes.