England players support their coach, claims Taylor

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The Independent Football

England players are standing by Sven Goran Eriksson despite the Football Association's "hidden agenda", according to Gordon Taylor.

The chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association insists his members have never threatened to strike over Eriksson's latest difficulties, but claims they are firmly supporting their coach.

Taylor insists England players are committed to working with Eriksson in the forthcoming World Cup qualifying campaign, despite his claims that the FA is not united in support of the coach. Asked whether England players had threatened to strike in support of Eriksson, he said: "Players have never threatened that. They do have a mutual respect. The players would like to continue with Sven and have a good World Cup campaign with him. There are hidden agendas and insinuations that there are people having second thoughts about Sven Goran Eriksson.

"It was the FA who gave Sven a new four-year contract. It doesn't show them in a good light. It betrays a hidden agenda. There has been a non-stop campaign for some time and there were people within the FA who were not happy with his contract, with the money he was given. We feel we've got to appoint a manager for a long time and the next stage seems to be to try to get rid of him."

Taylor feels serious flaws in the FA's management have been exposed by the current problems. He added: "It just meant his [Mark Palios'] situation was untenable. Disarray is the right word, it has not been the most glorious moment in the FA's history.

"It brings to a head a lot of issues we had, with the way they dealt with the drug test problem in Rio Ferdinand's situation, the disciplinary system, the selection process.

"We have worked hard to get much greater accountability and transparency. This is not the case with the FA on this particular issue. They have made quite a lot of goods for the media mill.

"It's not a question of being personal and vindictive - it's about being accountable. One of the problems [Palios] has found with the FA is it is difficult to pull all the strings together - there are so many different divisions.

"It's very difficult for one person to take responsibility and accountability but that's the only way an organisation can work. It is the chief executive's job to take that responsibility."

A supporters' spokesman claimed fans are not concerned with who runs the FA in succession to Palios but urged the governing body to put its house in order. Mark Perryman, of London England Fans, said: "England fans are not really affected by who the chief executive is at the FA. Over the past year there has been a better relationship with the FA with various initiatives but I think that would be with people further down the organisation.

"But it can't do football any good, and fans are part of football, if it is seen to be in that sort of mess.

"Fans are not really concerned about who the chief executive is. They are concerned about things like England fans abroad, safety and security and access to tickets. What we want is a well-run national body governing the game and clearly the organisation is in crisis."