London (AFP) – Sam Allardyce’s departure as England manager was essential to preserve the Football Association’s integrity as “guardians of the game”, the governing body’s senior figures said on Tuesday.
FA chairman Greg Clarke and chief executive Martin Glenn met with Allardyce at Wembley to seal his fate after damaging newspaper revelations left his position untenable.
Allardyce agreed to leave by mutual consent following the Daily Telegraph sting operation that captured him negotiating lucrative speaking engagements in the Far East, as well as making damaging remarks about the FA and a host of other issues, including the banned system of third-party ownership of players.
And Glenn, who led the three-man panel that nominated Allardyce, made it clear it was impossible for the FA to ignore the incendiary comments given their position as the game’s governing body, even though they would have preferred to keep the former Sunderland boss .
“It has been a really painful decision because obviously we’ve only just hired Sam,” Glenn told FATV.
“Sam, we think, is a great fit for England manager and we think could have been extremely successful.
“But the FA’s more than just running the England men’s team. We have to stand up for the right behaviours across the whole game. We’re the guardians of the game, we set the rules.
“We have to be seen to apply those rules consistently and evenly, whether you’re the England manager or someone low down in the organisation.
“So that consistency, that trust people have in us to behave in an appropriate manner, is core to what any football association is about and certainly true of the English Football Association.
“Sam is absolutely distraught. He recognises that he made a terrible error of judgement, and I think he recognises as well that, whilst it’s a tough decision that the FA are taking, he can see that at least we have a point.”
Clarke, who had yet to succeed Greg Dyke when Allardyce was installed, shared similar sentiments.
He explained that Allardyce’s departure after only 67 days in charge was not a done deal when he arrived at Wembley but quickly became the only possible outcome once the full details emerged.
“I went into the meeting with an open mind,” he said. “The tipping point was the discussion with Sam.
“As a man who has given what he has to English football he deserved a fair hearing, didn’t deserve pre-judging.
“We asked Sam how he felt, he said he was foolish and had said some unwise words and he recognised he had compromised his position and when we discussed whether it was recoverable or not we all agreed it wasn’t. We jointly agreed he moved on.
“There’s no criticism of Sam’s performance. I think he did a cracking job as England manager.
“He really lifted the team and he was doing great work with rebuilding morale and strategy but the reality was that after the revelations of yesterday and today his position was untenable.”
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