David Bernstein (executive)

David Bernstein

David Bernstein in 2011
Born 22 May 1943 (1943-05-22) (age 73)
St Helens, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Occupation Chartered accountant
Chairman of The FA
Years active 1994–present
Religion Judaism

David Alan Bernstein CBE (born 22 May 1943[1]) is a British business executive who is the chairman of the British Red Cross,[2] member of the advisory board at Cogress Ltd and was the former chairman of French Connection.

A Chartered Accountant by profession,[3] Bernstein has also been involved in the footballing world and was the chairman of Manchester City F.C. from 1998 to 2003, a period of revival and stability in the club's 130-year history and is generally held in high regard by Manchester City supporters for helping to pull the club out of its nadir.[4]

Bernstein is also President of Level Playing Field and Chair of the Centre for Access to Football in Europe. He has been chairman of Wembley Stadium Limited since July 2008,[5] during which he has renegotiated the £341m loan that has ensured the stadium's financial future would be more manageable.[6]

Bernstein was the FA chairman from January 2011 until his 70th birthday in May 2013, having been selected as Lord Triesman's replacement by the FA Council in December 2010. He said that his main priorities as chairman were reducing dissent and increasing respect in English football,[7] establishing closer links with FIFA to gain greater influence in international football[8] and enforcing a fairer playing field financially.[9]

Manchester City

Bernstein began supporting Manchester City in 1954 and watched the 1956 FA Cup Final between City and Birmingham City, despite it coinciding with the day of his Bar Mitzvah.[1] He joined Manchester City in 1994 as a board member and replaced outgoing chairman Francis Lee as chairman in 1998.

He inherited the role at a time when the once famous team of the 1960 and 70s was an ailing side plummeting into the depths of the Football League.[10] The club reached their nadir when they were relegated to the old Football League Division Two in 1998, which was then the third tier of English football – the only time in Manchester City's 130-year history they have been in the third tier.

His spell as Manchester City chairman saw five seasons of Manchester City yo-yoing between divisions. The club returned to the Division One via the play-offs in a tense penalty shootout with Gillingham. The first season after being promoted, the club finished 2nd in Division One and were promoted to the Premiership. However they went on to finish 18th and were subsequently relegated. Bernstein brought Kevin Keegan in as manager with the task to get City into the top flight and provide the stability to remain there. The club gained promotion in Keegan's first season in charge finishing 1st in Division One, winning by 10 clear points and scoring 101 league goals (more than 2 a game) for the first time since 1957–58 season.

Bernstein departed Manchester City and was succeeded as chairman by John Wardle.[11] The exact reason for his departure was believed to be down to "excessive spending", something Bernstein warned Manchester City to be wary of after the financial gambles Peter Swales often took to give City impetus to challenge for trophies.[12]


However his tenure at Manchester City, is fondly looked on by Manchester City supporters,[13] who credit Bernstein for preventing City getting stuck in the lower divisions and providing the necessary back-room clout to give the club stability, while Bernstein upon leaving City thanked his fellow City fans for their support: "I would like to thank our wonderful fans for their backing. They have been fantastic in their support, which has never wavered even during the most difficult times. I have been touched by their kindness and enthusiasm. I have supported Manchester City since I was a boy and I am desperate for us to succeed."[11]

Wembley Stadium Limited

Bernstein took over from Michael Jeffries in July 2008, after the stadium was plagued by years of construction delays and financial mismanagement. Bernstein worked with FA secretary and fellow chartered accountant, Alex Horne and refinanced the £341m loan to secure the stadium's short-term future.[16]

Football Association chairman

Bernstein became chairman of the Football Association on 25 January 2011.[17]

The nomination was met with surprise, with many expecting David Dein to be promoted as chairman.[18] However some analysts see Bernstein as a "safe pair of hands",[19] and point to business revivals with ailing companies such as French Connection, Manchester City and Wembley Stadium Limited that have given weight to his appointment.[20]

Bernstein was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to football.[21]

Demands for FIFA reform

Bernstein's appointment as chairman followed the failed 2018 World Cup bid in December 2010. Bernstein aimed to foster better relations with the FIFA Executive Committee in an aim to enforce English influence at the top of FIFA. However, accusations of bribery and members suspended on suspicion of corruption at FIFA meant the FA and Bernstein took a tougher stance with FIFA with a demand of reform.

Ultimately, the FA abstained from the 2011 FIFA presidential election between incumbent president Sepp Blatter and Mohammed Bin Hammam. Bin Hammam was later suspended by FIFA days prior to the election and the FA demanded that the election would be postponed with only one name on the ballot paper two days prior to the election. With only a day The FA managed to get 17 football associations to support their demand. Other football associations such as Germany also vented their concern at the events unfolding at FIFA as too did FIFA sponsors.

Business interests

Bernstein oversaw the controversial fcuk advertisement campaign at French Connection in 1997.[22]

Bernstein sits on the boards of a number of public companies, including fashion label Ted Baker and restaurant chain Carluccio's.[23][24]

Bernstein also sits on the advisory board for property investment firm Cogress Ltd.

See also


  1. 1 2 Wallace, Sam (23 December 2010). "David Bernstein: Man who made Wembley work has track record of saving failing firms". The Independent. Retrieved 23 December 2010.
  2. "Wenger disappointed by Dein snub". Press Association. 23 December 2010. Retrieved 24 December 2010. A chartered accountant, Bernstein was Manchester City chairman for five years, including the time they secured the lease for their new stadium at Eastlands
  3. Taylor, Daniel (6 March 2003). "Keegan wins war of no words". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  4. "Bernstein takes Wembley reins". guardian.co.uk. 12 June 2008. Retrieved 24 December 2010.
  5. "David Bernstein appointed new chairman of Football Association". http://www.guardian.co.uk. 22 December 2010. Retrieved 24 December 2010. When he took over its chairmanship in 2008, Wembley Stadium's bank loan had reached £341.5m and the FA risked defaulting on its terms, but his husbandry has since been highly effective. External link in |publisher= (help)
  6. Bernstein, David (1 April 2011). "The FA view: Dissent has declined with Respect campaign... but it's not enough". Daily Mail. www.dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
  7. "Bernstein can help FA relations with Fifa – Boyce". bbc.co.uk. 23 December 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  8. "David Bernstein says FA could follow Uefa's Financial Fair Play rules". www.guardian.co.uk. 29 March 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
  9. Culley, Jon (22 March 1998). "Profile: David Bernstein: Into the field of broken dreams". The Independent. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
  10. 1 2 "Man City chairman quits". BBC Sport. 5 March 2003. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
  11. "Football Association appoints David Bernstein as new chairman". guardian.co.uk. 22 December 2010. Retrieved 22 December 2010. He was understood to have resigned from the board following a disagreement over what he perceived as excessive spending in the transfer market during Kevin Keegan's managership of the club, a loosening of the purse strings against which he had cautioned.
  12. "FA welcomes man of substance but does David Bernstein have the vision?". guardian.co.uk. 22 December 2010. Retrieved 22 December 2010.
  13. "Manchester City launch online football skills academy". bbc.co.uk. 10 August 2010. Retrieved 11 August 2010.
  14. Wallace, Sam (20 December 2010). "Everton fans can be forgiven an envious glance tonight and thinking what might have been". independent.co.uk. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  15. "Wembley Stadium refinances loan". BBC News. 26 September 2008. Retrieved 24 December 2010.
  16. "David Bernstein to become Football Association chairman". BBC Sport. 22 December 2010. Retrieved 22 December 2010.
  17. "David Dein set to be named FA chairman". thesun.co.uk. 22 December 2010. Retrieved 24 December 2010.
  18. "FA play it safe with new chairman David Bernstein". Daily Mail. 23 December 2010. Retrieved 24 December 2010.
  19. Wallace, Sam (23 December 2010). "David Bernstein: Man who made Wembley work has track record of saving failing firm". independent.co.uk. Retrieved 24 December 2010.
  20. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60728. p. 7. 31 December 2013.
  21. "Controversial advert boosts French Connection". BBC News. 1 April 1998. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
  22. "Board Members". Wembley National Stadium Ltd. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
  23. "Management". The Sports & Leisure Group Ltd. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
Business positions
Preceded by
Francis Lee
Manchester City F.C. chairman
Succeeded by
John Wardle
Preceded by
Lord Triesman
The Football Association chairman
Succeeded by
Greg Dyke
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