When Mark Palios swapped life as a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers in the summer for the chief executive’s post at the Football Association, he clearly relished the challenge. A former professional footballer, his financial and sporting credentials stood him in good stead as he began attempts to modernise the FA and connect it with the public. And in agreeing to judge this year’s Accountancy Age Awards, he was plainly unwilling to turn his back on the profession entirely.
But as the row over England player Rio Ferdinand’s missed drug test escalated in the run-up to last weekend’s match with Turkey, Palios was under fire.
Rarely, it seems, does the public support the administrators over the players, but Palios was able to stand firm and keep most people on his side.
In a poll conducted by The Sun last Friday, an emphatic 70% backed the FA’s stance in leaving defender Rio Ferdinand out of the England squad.
By this week a somewhat relieved Palios wrote to staff at the FA’s headquarters, assuring them he had acted properly. And he pledged to learn from the experience. ‘The events of the past week have become one of the highest profile issues in the FA’s history and we need to ensure that we learn from this experience too. I have initiated a full review,’ he said.
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