Axe set to fall on England Manager

England manager Sam Allardyce, 61, was secretly filmed by The Telegraph as he spoke about circumventing FA rules on player transfers.
England manager Sam Allardyce, 61, was secretly filmed by The Telegraph as he spoke about circumventing FA rules on player transfers.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Allardyce faces crisis talks with FA over comments made during newspaper sting

LONDON • Football Association chiefs are close to sacking Sam Allardyce as England manager, after allegations he used his position to negotiate a £400,000 (S$705,950) deal and appeared to offer advice on how to circumvent rules on player transfers.

FA chairman Greg Clarke and chief executive Martin Glenn held an emergency meeting at Wembley yesterday and are understood to be extremely disturbed by the allegations.

The pair were planning to talk to Allardyce for his side of the story before making a final decision, but from what has been revealed so far they are understood to have major misgivings over whether he can continue in the job, which has a salary of £3 million a year plus bonuses.

The 61-year-old was filmed by undercover reporters from The Telegraph negotiating the deal with what he believed was a football agency from Asia, and making remarks about bypassing "ridiculous" FA and Fifa rules on third-party ownership.

The FA hierarchy are understood to be disturbed by the allegations, which were made in two meetings secretly filmed in London and Manchester and which surfaced just 67 days after Allardyce had secured what he had claimed was his "dream job".

He now faces the prospect of losing the position after only one match in charge.

  • £3m

  • Amount in annual wages Sam Allardyce stands to miss out on after he was caught by a sting operation.

Allardyce, accompanied by his agent Mark Curtis and his financial adviser Shane Moloney, was recorded commenting on a variety of subjects from England players to regulations, his predecessor Roy Hodgson and the FA's decision to redevelop Wembley.

But it was his comments on third-party ownership and advice on bypassing "ridiculous" FA and Fifa rules which have caused real alarm.

He is filmed telling the undercover reporters, posing as businessmen, that it was "not a problem" to get around FA rules, imposed in 2008, which prevent parties "owning" football players' economic rights. Fifa has since adopted a similar stance.

He stated an unnamed group had been "doing it for years" and "you can still get around it", suggesting they employ the player's agents to compensate for the fact they are no longer allowed to profit from each transfer directly.

Allardyce left his home in Bolton yesterday morning in a black Mercedes but refused to speak about the allegations.

Clarke, who has only just taken over as FA chairman, has vowed to hold a full investigation.

Clarke told The Times: "I want the facts and I will look into it - it is not appropriate to pre-judge the issue. With things like this you have to take a deep breath and have all the facts and hear everything from everyone.

"Then you can make a judgment about what to do and that's what we will do. Natural justice requires us to get the bottom of these issues before we make any decision."

If Clarke and Glenn decide that Allardyce's position is untenable, they will make a recommendation to an emergency meeting of the FA board that his contract should be terminated.

Gareth Southgate, the England Under-21 manager, is likely to be called upon to assume a caretaker role for England's next two World Cup qualifiers on Oct 8 and 11 if Allardyce is sacked.

THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 28, 2016, with the headline 'Axe set to fall on England Manager'. Print Edition | Subscribe