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Scottish FA Chief Executive quits

Tue 20th Apr 2010 | Football Governance

Gordon Smith's three-year reign as chief executive of the Scottish Football Association came to a dramatic and unexpected end yesterday when he resigned for what were described as personal reasons – just a day after a club chairman called his position "untenable" in a row over player discipline.

A brief statement on the Association’s website confirmed the 55-year-old's departure and promise more information today. "The Scottish FA can confirm that Gordon Smith has resigned from his post as chief executive," the statement read. "A further statement will be issued tomorrow."

The Scots Man newspaper reported that Smith had been regularly embroiled in controversy since he took over from David Taylor in June 2007. However, he has yet to make any sustained defence of his behaviour in the matter which hit the headlines over the weekend, when he came under heavy fire from Livingston chairman Gordon McDougall over his hand in a disciplinary case involving Robbie Winters.

Smith has so far only said he had "no problem" with anyone looking into his involvement in the Winters case. This attitude suggests his resignation was not directly caused by it, and cannot be regarded as tantamount to an admission of guilt.

But the controversy arising from it may turn out to have been the straw that broke the camel's back. With a family illness to deal with and an increasing feeling that the speed of change within the SFA was too slow, Smith could have felt that the row over Winters was one hassle too far. That would certainly appear to be more in character than any decision that he had in some way done wrong and had to pay with his job.

Smith's position became "untenable" after it was alleged that the chief executive had personally intervened to get a committee to charge the Livingston player with deceiving a match official and ignored his own organisation's disciplinary procedures.  

The SFA's delay in issuing any real explanation of the reasons for Smith's departure is understood to be because severance negotiations had not been completed. If a confidentiality agreement is reached with their former employee they may not offer any more substantial explanation today.

Smith, who gave up his dual careers as a football agent and media pundit to take the SFA job, quickly gained a higher profile than his predecessor. He played a prominent role in the appointments of George Burley and Craig Levein as Scotland managers, and was also active in international footballing matters.

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