The Football Association stepped back from taking Sven-Goran Eriksson to task over his latest indiscretions because they did not want to disrupt the England team ahead of the World Cup.

Eriksson was taped making controversial remarks about several senior players to an undercover reporter and talking about lucrative job possibilities even though he is under contract until 2008.

The FA reacted with a strong message of support for the England head coach but the furore has disturbed leading members of the organisation.

* What do you think? Visit our messageboard and give us your opinion. *

Eriksson was asked by the FA to issue a statement and personally telephone the players involved: David Beckham, Michael Owen, Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney and Shaun Wright-Phillips.

One member of the FA's International Committee said: "If you want the fame and fortune that goes with the job you have to accept the responsibility that goes with it. It's not the first time is it?

"The last thing we want though is for there to be any unease within the England squad ahead of the World Cup and let's hope, with the action that has been taken, that proves not to be the case."

Another source said: "It is fair to say that if this had been after the World Cup rather than four months before it, there may have been a rather different reaction.

"We don't want to ruin England's preparations for a tournament we have a good chance of winning."

There is a feeling that Eriksson was unfairly tricked and a sense of anger that the entrapment has undermined England's preparations.

And Eriksson's assistant Tord Grip admitted the expose had come as a shock to his fellow Swede. Grip said: "This was a real set-up. But I know that Sven is okay."