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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 July, 2004, 16:35 GMT 17:35 UK
FA calls emergency meeting
Sven-Goran Eriksson (left) and Mark Palios
The Football Association has called an emergency board meeting to discuss the fall-out from England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson's affair with an FA secretary.

Findings from an "urgent inquiry" will be discussed on 5 August, the FA said.

The FA initially denied the allegations but was later forced into a U-turn and admitted chief executive Mark Palios had had an affair with the same woman.

But chairman Geoff Thompson said he is "satisfied" Palios "did not mislead or attempt to mislead" the organisation.

The statement said the inquiry would look into the "circumstances which led to the FA issuing legal statements based on misleading information.

"The inquiry remains ongoing and the findings will be submitted to The FA Board at a special meeting on 5 August 2004.

"The FA will not be making any further statement until the full facts have been gathered and analysed."

The statement did not mention Eriksson, who is currently on holiday in Sweden, or his future as England coach.

But some members of the board are said to be embarrassed by the episode.

"We are left looking like mugs," FA executive board member David Henson told the Guardian.

And he added: "That can't be right. We have been left high and dry."

An FA Council member also said: "I don't think people are very impressed by what has gone on recently.

Eriksson should be setting the standards for everyone but he isn't
England World Cup winner
George Cohen

"Things don't appear to have been handled particularly well and I'm sure questions will be asked and explanations sought."

The revelations concerning Palios increased the controversy and he had been expected to hold a news conference at Soho Square on Tuesday to outline the FA's new disciplinary strategy.

However, it was then revealed that he would not be attending the event and that Brendan Batson, who was hired to manage the review of the disciplinary regulations, would stand in for him.

FA spokesman Adrian Bevington played down the switch and said: "It is carry on as normal.

"Mark may not be in the building at the moment but has continued to go about his duties as usual.

"Mark often may attend a briefing, or he may not, but it was always going to be Brendan's project and Brendan to speak to the media in this situation and that hasn't changed.

There have been calls for Eriksson to be sacked, among them from former England international George Cohen.

"It is not behaviour of an England team manager," said Cohen.

"Eriksson should be setting the standards and example for everyone but he isn't."

The FA's director of football Trevor Brooking further increased the pressure on Eriksson by criticising England's performances during Euro 2004.

"Against Portugal we scored an early goal but did we sit back too much?" said Brooking, who is currently preparing a technical report on England's campaign in Portugal.

"We didn't pass the ball well enough or keep possession and when you're ahead that's an important element."

Eriksson's contract has only recently been extended until 2008 and with the FA thought to be paying the Swede in the region of 4m a year, sacking him could prove costly.

I'm sure there will be some embarrassment in certain quarters at the FA
Former England manager
Graham Taylor

However, there is speculation that if the FA can prove that Eriksson deliberately misled his employers, he could be in breach of contract and therefore would not be entitled to a pay-off.

Former England boss Graham Taylor told BBC Radio Five Live that Eriksson should keep his job.

But he said: "When these situations arise, there is obviously great public interest.

"It is very difficult from a publicity point of view if you are found not to have given the correct answers.

"So I'm sure there will be some embarrassment in certain quarters at the FA."






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Report: BBC Sport's Mary Rhodes




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