The man rumoured to have made decisions about United, including f%^&ing us over about Ferdinand has resigned. An unfortunately not so shocking tale of duplicity and self-preservation at all costs
Mark Palios resigned as chief executive of the Football Association last night, the first senior figure to be brought down by the Faria Alam scandal. His position had been made untenable by revelations that a senior member of his staff had plotted against Sven-Göran Eriksson, the England head coach, in order to save the chief executive from embarrassment.
"Personally, I do not accept that I have been guilty of any wrongdoing," Palios said. However, most football people were surprised that it took him all day to resign.
The latest twist in the saga was the most damaging yet for the governing body as it was revealed that Colin Gibson, the FA’s director of communications appointed by Palios in January, had attempted to strike a deal with the News of the World in which he would give the newspaper intimate details of Eriksson’s affair with Alam.
The payback would be a promise from the paper to ignore Palios’s relationship with the secretary. "I’m trying to protect Mark and his five girls (daughters)," Gibson told the News of the World. Athole Still, Eriksson’s agent, said that he was appalled by the FA’s duplicity and, after spending the day wondering whether he could try to brave out the latest furore, Palios finally conceded at 6pm that he could not survive.
"I am very sad that I feel this is necessary," he said. "It has been a privilege to be chief executive of the Football Association but with privilege comes the burden of responsibility. And it has been important for me to take ultimate responsibility for everything the FA has done in good times and bad.
"Personally, I do not accept that I have been guilty of any wrongdoing. But it has become clear to me that my action is essential to enable the FA to begin to return to normality."
It was on Palios's instructions that Gibson attempted to broker a deal with the News of the World by which information would be divulged on Eriksson's affair with Alam, a personal assistant at the FA, in exchange for a whitewash of Palios's own relationship with the same woman.
Last night Gibson, too, tendered his resignation. Just following orders has never been a satisfactory excuse and he was wise not to offer it. That makes two decisions the 13-strong FA board will not have to take when it meets on Thursday.
What, however, of the FA board members themselves? Until yesterday they thought they would be meeting to consider Eriksson's future in the light of his alleged affair with Alam. Several of them spent last week issuing unattributable briefings to journalists, claiming that Eriksson would be dismissed this week. All they needed was the evidence that would help them avoid the need for a severance payment.
His expenses, they said, were being scrutinised to see if he had behaved improperly. In their enthusiasm for getting rid of the £4m-a-year manager they made themselves look grubby and perhaps even provided the basis for a libel action - as might those columnists of mature years, some employed by serious newspapers, who accused Eriksson of lying on the basis of very questionable hearsay.