RESIGNED: Greg WilsonNORTHERN NSW Football deputy chairman Greg Wilson resigned yesterday with a swipe at his opponents as Football Federation Australia intervened in the bitter dispute over the sacking of David Eland.

Wilson did not attend a summit meeting in Newcastle between two high-ranking but unnamed FFA delegates and NNSWF directors Peter Moore, Richard Face and Andrew Robertson.

But last night he released a statement announcing his resignation and advising members against reinstating former NNSWF chief executive Eland, who was sacked in October, sparking an acrimonious and protracted stand-off.

‘‘The decision has been a difficult one but it has become clear that I need to give priority to my business and family commitments over my role as a director with NNSWF,’’ Wilson said.

‘‘I am proud to have been a part of an elected board that has operated independently, making decisions that were often difficult and as circumstance would dictate, sometimes unpopular with sections of the football community, but always driven by what was best for the members.

‘‘In wishing everyone involved in the game in Northern NSW the very best for the future, I believe that it would not be in the best interests of the Northern NSW football community and a grave error in judgement for the members to remove the existing independent directors and interim CEO and replace them with people who clearly have vested interests and are committed to reinstating the former CEO.’’

It is understood FFA’s representatives attempted to persuade the incumbent directors to stand down before the NNSWF annual general meeting on January 10 to avoid further ill feeling, advising them that they had no mandate.

‘‘The talks today were about finding a professional and orderly process to resolve the current situation,’’ an FFA spokesman said last night.

‘‘We are satisfied there is broad agreement on the way forward and acknowledgement of what needs to be done.’’

After yesterday’s negotiations, FFA and NNSWF released a joint statement indicating they would work amicably and transparently together.

‘‘NNSWF and the FFA are working collaboratively and in good faith with a view to resolving these issues in an orderly way and in the best interests of the sport of football,’’ it read.

‘‘It is anticipated that NNSWF and the FFA will resolve the issues in advance of the NNSWF annual general meeting on January 10, 2012.’’

Wilson, Moore and Face voted to sack Eland in October because of an alleged breakdown in their working relationship.

Robertson abstained from the vote, and fellow directors Bill Walker and Michael Gaertner to resign in protest.

Former Newcastle City Councillor Helene O’Neill was appointed to the board last week. She listened to yesterday’s meeting on a conference call.

A showdown between the incumbent directors and disgruntled members had been anticipated at the AGM, which was originally set down for December 4 but rescheduled because the November 10 motion to call the meeting had been declared invalid.

FFA are understood to have advised Moore, Face and Robertson to resign from their positions before January 10, then stand for election if they feel so inclined.

It was unclear last night whether Eland would be reinstated if a new board was installed, but he clearly has staunch support from major stakeholders within NNSWF and FFA.

The voting members – the seven zones and three standing committees of NNSWF – planned to oust the remaining directors at the AGM and elect new directors at a general meeting immediately afterwards.

Walker and Gaertner are among those in line to make up the replacement board.

Broadmeadow president Larry Urdarov, North Coast zone president Phil Holt and Northern Inland president Alex McDonald are the others.