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Sex scandal claims English FA boss

LONDON, England -- English Football Association chief executive Mark Palios resigned Sunday, the victim of a sex scandal that has also engulfed national coach Sven Goran Eriksson.

Palios has paid the price for the FA's initial denial of a tabloid newspaper story and subsequent admission that both he and Eriksson had relationships with a former secretary Faria Alam.

"It has has been a privilege to be chief executive (of the FA) but with privilege comes the burden of responsibility," Palios said.

"Personally, I do not accept that I have been guilty of any wrongdoing. But it has been clear to me that my action tonight is essential to enable the Football Association to begin to return to normality," added Palios, a divorced father of five.

His position had come under increasing pressure after The News of the World tabloid newpaper reported Sunday that the FA had offered them details of England manager Eriksson's affair with Alam on the condition the paper stayed silent about the same woman's fling with Palios.

The paper printed a transcript of a phone call in which the FA's director of communications, Colin Gibson, seemingly tried to make the deal.

According to the paper, the call took place the day before it first published details of Eriksson's alleged affair with Alam last Sunday.

Eriksson has also come under media pressure to resign as details of his relationship with the 38-year-old former model from Bangladesh filled page after page of national newspapers.

The FA has scheduled a special board meeting for Thursday to investigate the actions of the Swede, specifically if he gave misleading information over his relationship with Alam.

Eriksson could be fired without recompense for gross misconduct if that's proved.

Challenging tenure

Palios, a former defender with Tranmere Rovers, was a partner at the global professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers before he joined the FA.

"When I joined the FA it faced many serious challenges," Palios said. "A lot of very good things have been achieved in the past 13 months. I have had the privilege to work with an outstanding leadership team. For the time being, I intend to keep any further thoughts to myself."

His tenure has been a challenging one. He joined at a time when the FA was in the middle of internal cost cutting while it oversaw the finance of the 757 million pound (US$1.37 billion) rebuilding of Wembley stadium.

That was the least of his problems.

Palios made the decision to ban Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand from the England team on the eve of its final crucial Euro 2004 qualifier in October last year because he didn't attend a drug test.

England players threatened to boycott the match in Turkey in protest, but eventually backed down and qualified for the tournament. Ferdinand was banned for nine months.

Palios was also under fire in March when he extended Eriksson's contract to 2008 -- reportedly increasing the salary to 4 million pounds (US$7.24 million) a year -- three months before the European Championship.

England was eliminated in the quarterfinals on penalties to Portugal.

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