FA seeks agency for image makeover in World Cup build-up

LONDON - The Football Association is talking to agencies about an ad campaign to publicise its place at the heart of the national game in the run-up to this summer's World Cup.

The initiative will aim to show the FA has a far broader role than just running the England team and to emphasise football's importance to the country.

Adam Crozier, the FA's chief executive, is said to be eager to pursue the plan. As a Saatchi & Saatchi senior manager, he was instrumental in persuading the FA to run advertising prior to the 1998 World Cup in order to stake England's claim as a venue for the 2006 competition.

FA bosses want to banish public perceptions of soccer's governing body as a byzantine and lumbering organisation. They believe they can exploit the goodwill generated by what has proved to be their shrewd appointment of Sven Goran Eriksson.

But they are also aware of the need to maintain the English game's image which crowd trouble and off-the-field activities have tarnished.

"At some point the FA knows it must take a more public position," an industry source said. "All the headlines about Eriksson and Beckham suggest that this is all that concerns the FA. Yet the England team is only a part of its responsibilities."

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