Fri, Aug 06, 2004 - Page 23 News List

FA meets to decide England coach's future at the helm

REUTERS , LONDON

Football Association board members arrived at a secret London location late yesterday to discuss the events surrounding Sven Goran-Eriksson's affair with a secretary at English football's governing body.

The England manager is unlikely to lose his job over the affair with the female employee, Faria Alam, although a final decision may not be made at the meeting.

A statement on the FA Web site said: "It is the board's role to concentrate on the facts and ensure all of the correct processes and procedure are followed.

"This is clearly a detailed issue. All decisions must follow standard procedures and employment law."

It added: "The board may determine it appropriate to seek more evidence or refer the matter for further consideration. It is imperative at this time that rigorous processes are followed."

crux

The crux of the matter is who said what to who at the FA to prompt them to issue a strongly-worded denial of the affair, only to retract it days later.

The retraction also confirmed that FA chief executive Mark Palios had also had an affair with Alam.

Palios was cleared of wrongdoing by FA chairman Geoff Thompson but resigned on Sunday, saying he took ultimate responsibility for everything the FA did "in good times and bad."

The News of the World on Sunday published transcripts of a conversation with the FA's head of communications Colin Gibson, during which the former newspaper sports editor attempted to make a deal to keep Palios's name out of the public domain.

Gibson's subsequent offer to resign is also likely to be considered by the 12-man board. Eriksson and Alam were not to be in attendance.

"Those employees involved in this matter ... will not be attending the board meeting," the FA said on its Web site.

The statement also said a decision on Eriksson's future might not be made yesterday.

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