Magazine article The Spectator

No One Wronged Faria

Magazine article The Spectator

No One Wronged Faria

Article excerpt

And so, the regiment of horribly wronged women marches ever onward and has, in the last week or so, claimed another male scalp. Mark Palios, the chief executive of the Football Association, has resigned over his affair with Faria Alam, a personal assistant at the FA. I still don't know why he had to resign. Faria said he wasn't very good in bed and, what's more, he was a 'cold-hearted cad'. So perhaps that's the reason. Maybe the chief executives of football's governing body are required to be good in bed and also warm-hearted people -because having scoured through the filth and the claims and counterclaims, I can't see anything else the man did that was 'wrong'. And having read all this stuff one becomes afflicted by a sort of madness -and anger.

A short while ago the following national football teams were eliminated from the Euro 2004 championship at an unpalatably early stage: France, England, Germany, Italy, Holland and Spain. Of those six countries, five either sacked their football coaches for presiding over such failure or waited patiently for their coaches to resign, which they did. The other country - England, of course - did not. Instead it started wondering if the national coach should be sacked for his entirely legitimate sexual relationship with that aforementioned, rather busy little secretary at the FA, Faria Alam. Never mind that Sven-Goran Eriksson presided over a failure every bit as humiliating as that which afflicted France and Holland, nor that he is a coach who either does not know how to defend a one-goal lead or is incapable of conveying to his team the correct manner in which to do so. Nor, indeed, that he has the tactical nous of Field Marshal Haig. No; Sven's career hung in the balance because he shagged some girl and decided not to share this information with the rest of the world.

In the end, Sven was saved. I'm still not sure why. Perhaps it was because Ms Alam insisted that Sven was actually rather good in bed and seemed a very nice sort of bloke who was disposed to buy her dinner a couple of times before he shagged her. Having scoured through the filth, etc., I can't find very much else to differentiate the behaviour of Palios and Eriksson: both were single men entirely at liberty to shag Ms Alam with dinner, panache or neither of these things. Even if they weren't single men it is hard to justify a threat to their respective careers simply for the rather mundane - and, I would have thought, somewhat enervating - act of shagging Ms Alam. And both, when asked about the business by the Football Association, should have said, with some force, Tm not telling you. Go hang yourselves.'

Ms Alam, meanwhile, has trousered a reported £750,000 for telling people how good and bad in bed Sven and Mark were. But that's OK, because she's been wronged, not merely by Sven and Mark and the Football Association, but by the press, which has - Lord have mercy -invaded her privacy. She whined about the invasion of her privacy in yet another lucrative interview earlier this week. There is very good money to be made out of whining about the invasion of your privacy. And, indeed, about being wronged by men.

But how exactly was she wronged? She slept with two men, one of whom bought her a nice dinner and the other of whom did not. Neither, understandably enough, wished to enter into a long-term relationship with her. …

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