|Faria Alam’s reputation lay in shreds
The Football Association was misled by comments from Sven-Goran Eriksson during the Faria Alam scandal, an Employment Tribunal ruled on Wednesday.
The England manager initially denied having an affair with Alam, the former FA secretary who eventually left Soho Square amid a fusillade of allegations against her employers.
Alam’s reputation lay in shreds on Wednesday after the tribunal branded her claim of sexual harassment against David Davies, the FA executive director, as “a figment of her fertile imagination”.
Ms Alam lost her case against the FA for sexual harassment, unfair dismissal and breach of contract last September, but only now have the tribunal circulated the reasoning behind their verdict to all parties.
In 2004, Ms Alam, then Mr Davies’ secretary, conducted affairs with Eriksson and the then chief executive, Mark Palios. She soon left the FA after her affair with Mr Eriksson was exposed.
The tribunal concluded that the FA did not sacrifice her “to protect Palios’ reputation”. Palios eventually resigned, along with Colin Gibson, the FA’s director of communications.
One section of the report, paragraph 7.22, concerns comments made by Eriksson. “During the course of the interview, Mr Eriksson said to Mr Norbury (the FA-appointed QC initially investigating the Eriksson-Alam affair) that he had not been specific about his answer to David Davies, but that he had used the word “nonsense” when the allegation was put to him by Mr Davies and that he told Mr Davies that “his private life was his private life.”
“We are satisfied that the comment from Mr Eriksson supports Mr Davies’ account that, when he first raised with Mr Eriksson the allegation about an affair, his firm view at the end of the conversation was that Mr Eriksson was denying the affair.
“Of course, Ms Alam also denied it to him, and it was with that background that the Football Association, through Mr Davies and Mr Gibson, issued the statement denying the affair, the circumstances of which were the subject of Mr Norbury’s inquiry.”
However confused the FA may have been over Eriksson’s comments, it is the testimony of Ms Alam that is ridiculed by the tribunal. In a damning 16-page indictment of Ms Alam’s behaviour, the tribunal ruled that her evidence was “contradictory”, and that she made “unfounded” allegations of sexual harassment against Mr Davies and “the threat of further disclosures” to pressure the FA into paying her off.
The document questions the “veracity” of Ms Alam’s testimony and vindicates Mr Davies. “We have no doubt that we prefer the evidence of Mr Davies and we are entirely satisfied that none of the incidents of alleged harassment, which the claimant refers to, took place,” the report concludes.
Alam had claimed that two former colleagues of Davies told her they had been unhappy with Davies. The tribunal, having read statements from Fisher and Ford attesting to Davies’ good character, dismissed Alam’s version of events. “There is no support for the claimant’s contention that Mr Davies sexually harassed her.”
“The tribunal consider that was a very unusual way for an honest person to proceed, but we are inclined to the view that it was no doubt intended to put some pressure on the respondent to settle the claim being brought against them by holding over the head of the respondent the threat of further disclosures which would embarrass the FA.”