Digger: Tennis hunt for chief executive could thwart FA

The ATP's search for a new chief executive could impinge on the FA's recruitment of the same kind

Tennis has launched a global executive search that could have major implications for the Football Association's ambitions to appoint a replacement for Brian Barwick.

The FA's chief executive quits at Christmas, which is when the Association of Tennis Professionals is due to appoint a successor to Etienne De Villiers. The South African has been the ATP's executive chairman but will hand over the post - or two separate roles of chairman and chief executive - when his contract expires at the year's end.

One leading candidate is Andy Anson, the former commercial director of Manchester United who has been the ATP's chief executive for Europe since quitting Old Trafford two years ago. Predictably, given his skills set, Anson's name has widely been raised as a prime candidate for the Soho Square vacancy.

Should he favour a potential promotion in tennis over a return to English football, the ATP has other strong internal candidates such as Mark Young and Phil Anderson. A trained lawyer, Young is its chief executive for North America and was the architect of the successful litigation against the Hamburg Open that asserted the ATP's rights to alter its own calendar while Anderson was once chief executive of the Scottish Rugby Union.

While Nolan Partners are leading the search for a chief executive on behalf of the FA, it is Spencer Stuart who will widen the net beyond tennis. It ran the failed search for a chief executive of Arsenal but will take a shortlist to the ATP's board for its consideration early next month.

Windfall for League clubs

Football League clubs will share a £3m windfall this year as a result of the increased revenues from their internet operations. A 50% rise in profits from Football League Interactive, which charges fans a subscription for access to news and highlights footage, has led to a bigger dividend. The company was born out of the ill-fated £315m contract with ITV Digital and although it has taken since 2002 to make an impact, the league considers it a strong growth area as more homes carry reliable broadband connections. The league also produces a weekly podcast, currently the fifth most-downloaded in sport.

Pompey escape scrutiny

Alexandre Gaydamak's ownership of Portsmouth will not come under any fresh scrutiny from the Premier League despite weekend reports that he has personally been named in court documents relating to a trial in Paris in which his father Arkadi is said to have been a central figure in allegedly illegal arms deals to Angola. The Premier League is confident that its recent research into Gaydamak junior's assurances that he alone is the ultimate controlling shareholder of the Fratton Park club still holds.

KP wows Westminster

The stardust that Kevin Pietersen has sprinkled on the England team since taking over as captain brought politicians out in force at last night's all-party parliamentary cricket group meeting. Pietersen was the star attraction, alongside the World Twenty20 Cup's tournament director, Steve Elworthy. Pietersen's predecessor as captain, Michael Vaughan, right, denied himself the extra work when leading the England team in an effort to be even-handed with the media, but is now two weeks in to his career as a newspaper columnist - suggesting the Yorkshireman has given up designs on reclaiming the captaincy.

Crystal Palace redux

UK Athletics is pressing ahead with a project to make its Crystal Palace home viable. Such was its success this summer of the London Grand Prix, when for the first time in 23 years it was staged over two days, the intention is for a repeat each year to 2012. The plan must pass muster at the IAAF's council meeting next month and will give UKA the chance to comment on plans to insert a football tenant into the 2012 stadium. London 2012 promised the Olympic movement an athletics legacy in the Stratford stadium, so any new permission for Crystal Palace would be temporary.


Matt Scott

The GuardianTramp

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