As England manager Sam Allardyce yesterday lost his job because of a Daily Telegraph sting, the paper today said eight Premier League managers had received ‘bungs’ for player transfers.
Undercover reporters from the paper met Allardyce in a London hotel and filmed him agreeing to make four trips to Singapore to speak to investors at £100,000 per trip. He offered advice about how to circumvent the banned practice of third parties “owning” players.
Announcing the departure of Allardyce, after 67 days in the £3m-a-year England job, the FA said his conduct was “inappropriate of the England manager”.
Allardyce said: “Although it was made clear during the recorded conversations that any proposed arrangements would need the FA’s full approval, I recognise I made some comments which have caused embarrassment.”
Speaking to reporters outside his home in Bolton, he said: “Entrapment has won on this occasion. I have to accept that.
“I think that on reflection it was a silly thing to do, but just to let everyone know I sort of helped out what was somebody I’d known for 30 years.”
The Telegraph today published more revelations from its ten-month investigation into corruption in football.
Its investigations team began the probe “after receiving information that specific managers, officials and agents were giving or receiving cash payments to secure player transfers”.
The paper said it plans to disclose this week the name of an assistant manager at a leading club filmed accepting £5,000 in cash from undercover reporters posing as investors from a Far East firm which wanted to invest in players.
It said that it has evidence from meetings between undercover reporters and agents, managers and club officials which suggest corruption is a “major problem” in English football.
The Telegraph has filmed football agents naming five current or recent Premier League football managers they said they had paid bungs to. The agents also named three others believed to have taken bungs.
One of the agents, Pino Pagliara, and since told the Telegraph that he made up the stories about managers taking bungs in order to impress the undercover reporters in the hope of getting a deal with their fictitious firm.
In a leader column today the Telegraph said of Allardyce: “His willingness to engage in detailed conversations with people he believed represented wealthy foreign business interests about how to get around football’s rules show that he is not the man to champion probity and honesty in the game.”
It also said the Football Association bears a degree of blame, acting more as a “trade body” to promote the interests of football clubs rather than a regulator.
It added that the loyalty of fans “may not survive the idea that the game is largely a racket run for the benefit of fixers and middlemen”.
News of the Allardyce resignation made every national newspaper front page today.