Football: Agents claim eight EPL managers took kick-backs

Former England national football team manager Sam Allardyce faces the press outside his home on Sept 28.
Former England national football team manager Sam Allardyce faces the press outside his home on Sept 28. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON • Hours after Sam Allardyce was dismissed as England manager for inappropriate conduct, the Football Association (FA) was hit by a new crisis as eight current and former English Premier League managers stood accused of receiving "bungs" for player transfers after a long-running investigation by The Daily Telegraph.

The British newspaper said it had agreed to hand over its findings to the FA and the police after its undercover reporters discovered "widespread evidence of corruption in the English game" by filming football agents boasting about how many managers they had paid off.

The allegations included agents naming "a total of eight current or recent Premier League managers who they said were known for taking 'bungs' (illicit payments) including five they said they had personally paid off".

Italian agent Giuseppe Pagliara said he opened Swiss bank accounts for managers and worked through intermediaries to cover the illegal payments.

"There's one thing that I've always been able to rely on, and that is the greed of general managers," he told an undercover reporter.

The journalist met Pagliara at Manchester's San Carlo restaurant.

The Italian claimed one manager who had worked in the Premier League would use a code to ask if he would receive a cash injection: "Is there a little coffee for me, Pino?"

Another football agent Dax Price claimed one manager would increase players' wages and arrange for each of them to pay him a £4,000 (S$7,000) monthly cut.

"It's almost like corruption is just staring you in the face," he said.

A third agent, former Manchester United player Scott McGarvey, said he gave an associate £30,000 to secure a player transfer. He explained he would arrange payments through an account in Monaco.

When contacted again, Pagliara denied making payments to managers and a spokesman for McGarvey denied any wrongdoing, while Price said he would not respond to the investigation without further detail, the newspaper reported.

The Daily Telegraph also said that two managers of Championship (second tier) clubs had accepted illicit payments.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 29, 2016, with the headline 'Agents claim eight EPL managers took kick-backs'. Print Edition | Subscribe