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English Soccer Head Quits

December 15, 1998

LONDON (AP) _ The head of English soccer quit Tuesday amid questions regarding a $5.3 million loan in the latest potential bribery scandal to hit sports.

The resignation of Graham Kelly, chief executive of the English Football Association, arises from a loan promised to the Welsh Football Association.

Newspaper reports have interpreted the loan as an attempted bribe by English FA chairman Keith Wiseman to help him gain a top job with FIFA, soccer’s governing body.

The scandal comes days after the International Olympic Committee was stung by bribery allegations. IOC executive board member Marc Hodler has alleged the practice of buying and selling of votes in the election of host cities.

English FA spokesman David Davies said executive committee members accepted Kelly’s resignation and passed a vote of no confidence in Wiseman although he had refused to quit.

Davies did not say whether Kelly had any connection with the loan.

Davies said the committee thanked Kelly for his 10 years of service to the organization and would pass along its recommendation on Wiseman to the FA council for endorsement at a special meeting in January.

``This vote of no confidence, I stress, was taken unanimously by an executive committee that represents all sections of the game,″ Davies said. ``It was taken with sadness and only after considerable examination of all the circumstances, it was not taken lightly.″

In a statement read by Davies, Wiseman said the full council would have to resolve this issue.

``I do not intend to make any comment at all until I have shared the full circumstances of this matter with them all _ save that the version of events carried hitherto in the national press is a gross distortion of the truth,″ he said.

The executive committee decided that Davies would take over Kelly’s position on an interim basis and that vice chairman Geoff Thompson would take Wiseman’s position, pending the FA Council meeting.

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