Faria Alam reveals identity of 'third man' who pursued her at Football Association

Her penchant for silver-haired football executives famously provided the nation with salacious details of the sexual prowess of the England manager and the chief executive of the Football Association. And yesterday Faria Alam made allegations about another household name that will strengthen the perception that the beautiful game is Britain in mired sleaze.

Her penchant for silver-haired football executives famously provided the nation with salacious details of the sexual prowess of the England manager and the chief executive of the Football Association. And yesterday Faria Alam made allegations about another household name that will strengthen the perception that the beautiful game is Britain in mired sleaze.

Dressed in a white jacket concealing a low-cut black dress, the former Football Association worker swore an oath on the Koran before presenting an account of "betrayal" by the FA that included a claim of persistent sexual harassment by her boss, the former BBC reporter and Grandstand presenter David Davies.

In an hour of incendiary testimony Ms Alam, 39, told an employment tribunal in central London that the exposure last summer of her affairs with Sven Goran Eriksson and Mark Palios gave rise to dirty tricks.

The former model, who joined the FA in July 2003, described how she was pursued from the outset of her employment by executives including Mr Eriksson and was regularly subjected to inappropriate comments and touching by Mr Davies.

Mr Davies, now the FA's executive director, had approached her at his flat in Lancaster Gate and his office in Soho, she said. Ms Alam, who said she regretted making the acts public because she liked Mr Davies's wife, added: "He advised me his life was better with me in it and that we should run away together or that he wanted to lock me up and throw away the key."

In a statement last night Mr Davies, who was hoping to bow out as the FA's executive director after the World Cup, said: "I was immensely saddened to hear these cruel and grotesque allegations. They are deeply hurtful and will be refuted vehemently, not only by myself but also by others." He said he had enjoyed "an excellent professional and friendly relationship" with Ms Alam.

In his 12 years at the heart of the national game, Mr Davies has weathered repeated controversies, including the negative fallout from the Bruce Grobgelaar affair and Graham Kelly's resignation as chief executive in a row over a £3.2m loan to the Welsh FA.

The publication by The News of the World of the details of Ms Alam's six-month affairs with Mr Palios and Mr Eriksson was the latest in a succession of prurient stories about senior figures in the game.

But the tribunal was told that the scandal was deepened when the FA's director of communications, Colin Gibson, offered a deal to the newspaper to provide "the details, the places, the phone calls, everything" relating to Ms Alam's relationship with Mr Eriksson in return for keeping her affair with Mr Palios secret. Both Mr Palios and Mr Gibson resigned after the alleged offer was reported.

The secretary told the tribunal: "I felt I had been cut loose. I felt that I had been betrayed by Mr Gibson in the way that he was prepared to reveal information about me in order to save Mr Palios. I also felt very strongly that the FA were treating me very differently from Mr Palios and Mr Eriksson."

Ms Alam, who resigned her £35,000 a year post last August, is claiming about £30,000 in compensation for sexual discrimination, breach of contract and unfair dismissal.

Mr Eriksson was first in her sights as she outlined the shabby treatment to which she felt she had been subjected. She said the England manager had been "very charming, considerate and very persistent in his advances" from the early days of her employment. But when their affair became public shortly after the Euro 2004 tournament last summer, Ms Alam claimed her lover insisted she lie to their employer about the relationship.

Describing how she had denied the liaison to Mr Davies, Ms Alam said: "At the time of the call I was with Mr Eriksson. He told me that if questioned by the FA I should deny that I was having any relationship with him." The secretary claimed she was then "bullied" by Mr Davies, Mr Gibson and Alistair MacLean, the FA's head of legal affairs, into approving a statement denying the relationship. She said: "I did not want to admit to anything because I was protecting Mr Eriksson. I was very scared."

The tribunal heard that a range of tactics was deployed against her, including the scanning of her private e-mail account, anonymous briefings against her, and the leaking of her location to photographers.

The case continues.

Never far from controversy

After 12 years at the heart of the national game, David Davies was hoping to bow out as the FA's executive director after the World Cup.

The former BBC reporter andGrandstand presenter, where he is said to have invented the catchphrase "If you don't want to know the result look away now", has weathered repeated controversies only to emerge unscathed.

He joined the FA as director of public affairs in 1994 determined to modernise its ruling body. But immediately he was dealing with the negative fallout of the Bruce Grobbelaar affair and the court cases detailing evidence of match fixing.

Euro 96 was a major triumph for English football, even though the team didn't win. But controversy was never far away. In 1998 the FA's chief executive, Graham Kelly, was forced to resign in a row over a £3.2m loan to the Welsh FA and Davies assumed the stand-in role.

But the revelations that Davies's PA, Faria Alam, was having an affair both with the England coach Sven Goran Eriksson and before him with chief executive, Mark Palios, have proved his most intractable problem. And one that looks like it won't be going away soon.

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