Sir Keith Mills sounded out over leading job in English football

The 52-year-old, who played a leading role in the successful staging of the Olympics in London, has been targeted by both the Football Association and the Premier League
By Greg Stobart

Sir Keith Mills has been sounded out over taking a leading role in English football as chairman of either the Football Association or the Premier League, has learned.

Mills, who was deputy chairman of London 2012, is highly rated by both governing bodies but a position with the Premier League is more likely when current chairman Sir Dave Richards is due to step down in 2013.

The 52-year-old is a popular figure and football faces a battle to secure his services with him having also been lined up to lead a combination of Sport England and UK Sport, working closely again with Olympic chairman Lord Sebastian Coe.

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Mills made his fortune by inventing the Air Miles and Nectar points systems and is also a non-executive director at Tottenham, where he promoted strongly the north London club's failed attempt to take over the Olympic Stadium.

The Premier League chairmanship is almost certain to become available, with Richards planning to resign at the end of the season, when he will be 68, having been in the role since 1999.

Mills is considered to have the qualities and respect to take over from Richards, whose reign has been colourful and often gaffe-prone, not least this March when he claimed that Fifa and Uefa "stole" football from England.

There is also a slim chance that FA chairman David Bernstein could be forced out of his position, as the association's rules require him to step down when he turns 70 in May.

The FA are expected to change their rules so that Bernstein can continue until at least the end of England's World Cup 2014 campaign, having been responsible for the appointment of Three Lions' manager, Roy Hodgson.

Nevertheless, FA board members have privately discussed potential replacements and Mills is considered an extremely strong candidate.

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