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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 July, 2004, 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK
Eriksson stands firm
England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson
I look forward to our qualification campaign for the 2006 FIFA World Cup
Sven-Goran Eriksson
England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has launched a strong defence of his position amid allegations of an affair with a Football Association secretary.

Eriksson's future is in doubt after the FA called an urgent meeting following claims he deceived them over his affair with Faria Alam.

He said: "I have at no time either categorically confirmed or denied any relationship with Ms Faria Alam.

"I welcome the opportunity to discuss these matters with the FA next week."

The FA launched an inquiry into the situation after being forced into an embarrassing u-turn over the weekend.

Having issued a denial to allegations about an affair between Eriksson and Alam, the FA had to admit that there had actually been a relationship.

"It is my policy never to comment on my private life. This policy has always been fully understood and accepted by my employers, the Football Association," said Eriksson in a statement.

"However, I have been so distressed by recent inaccurate comment and speculation about my professional integrity that I feel I must now make the following statement.

"Neither I nor my advisors had any prior knowledge whatsoever of the statement authorised by the FA on behalf of Ms Alam on 19 July, nor of the press release issued by the FA on 24 July, nor were either myself or my advisors consulted in any way about the contents of either statement.

As far as I'm concerned he's been a great man to me and a great man to the rest of the England players
England captain David Beckham

"I therefore welcome the opportunity to discuss these matters with the FA next week, and I look forward thereafter to our qualification campaign for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

"I will be making no further comment on these matters until such time as the Football Association's enquiry has been concluded."

The FA have also cancelled a press conference scheduled for next Wednesday, which was supposed to look ahead to England's game with the Ukraine on 18 August.

The beleaguered England manager however has received some welcome support from skipper David Beckham.

"As far as I'm concerned he's been a great man to me and a great man to the rest of the England players," he said.

"We love playing under him and if people decide otherwise then so be it.

"But my comments and I know the rest of the players' comments will be that he's a great manager and we love working with him.

"But we'll have to see. There's always going to be criticism and sometimes you have to take the rough with the smooth, and when you come through it you're a stronger person."






SEE ALSO
Sven-Goran Eriksson timeline
27 Jul 04  |  Internationals
FA calls emergency meeting
27 Jul 04  |  England
FA confirms England coach affair
25 Jul 04  |  UK News
Judgment day for Eriksson
28 Jul 04  |  Internationals



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