The Football Association is awaiting “full and unfettered disclosure of all available material from the Daily Telegraph” as the corruption allegations engulfing football saw Southampton assistant manager Eric Black implicated and Tommy Wright lose his job as Barnsley’s assistant head coach.
Wright was sacked after claims made against him and the newspaper’s latest claims surround Black, who allegedly offered advice on how to bribe officials at other clubs. He was filmed apparently saying staff at other clubs could possibly be persuaded to give information about a player to a management company for money. He has denied the allegations.
The FA said it had yet to receive the requested material and wanted to investigate matters fully as soon as possible, after a Telegraph spokesperson told Press Association Sport it remained the newspaper’s intention to release the information – but that the police had asked to review it first.
City of London Police later confirmed that discussions had already taken place with the FA and the Telegraph.
The FA’s statement came just hours after Wright lost his job following the Telegraph’s report that he took a £5,000 payment from undercover reporters posing as representatives of fake investors from the Far East.
Premier League coach embroiled in bribery scandal https://t.co/DI0XDvVuL5
— Telegraph News (@TelegraphNews) September 30, 2016
The 50-year-old Scot, who maintains his innocence, was suspended after the allegation came to light on Wednesday but the South Yorkshire club terminated his contract with immediate effect.
Wright becomes the second man named by the Telegraph in its undercover investigation into corruption in football to lose his job, following England’s now ex-manager Sam Allardyce.
Barnsley’s swift response to the report came within an hour of the League Managers Association saying it was frustrated with the newspaper for failing to hand over all of its evidence.
The newspaper has published several allegations over the last three days, including claims that 10 unnamed managers have taken so-called ‘bungs’ in transfer deals.
Southampton pre-empted the implicating of Black with a statement which said the club “intends to work closely with both bodies (The FA and Premier League) on this matter when the facts become clear.
”Southampton Football Club is fully committed to investigating any situation that directly or indirectly relates to our club, employees or the wider community.”
According to the Telegraph, Black – a distinguished player with Aberdeen during his career – attended a meeting arranged by Scott McGarvey, the football agent who also teed-up the Allardyce meeting. At the meeting, the Telegraph claims the pair explain to an undercover reporter they believe to be a potential investor how club officials could be persuaded to pass on information to a management company.
FA rules state that intermediaries “must not give, offer or seek to offer, any consideration of any kind” to a club official “in return for any benefit, service, favour or any kind of preferential treatment”.
— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) September 29, 2016
A spokesman for Black told the Telegraph: “[Mr Black] does not recall Mr McGarvey making suggestions that football officials should be paid during transfer negotiations – this was not the purpose of the meeting so far as our client understood it. Any suggestion that he was complicit in such discussions is false.”
McGarvey also denies the allegations with a spokesman saying he will “vigorously defend his reputation”.
QPR manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Leeds owner Massimo Cellino have also been implicated in separate controversies.
Hasselbaink is alleged to have requested a fee of £55,000 to also work for a phoney Far East firm seeking to sell players to the club.
A club statement confirmed it has started an internal investigation into the matter, with chief executive Lee Hoos and director of football Les Ferdinand meeting the 44-year-old Dutchman at their Harlington training ground.
“First and foremost, the club reiterates that we take these allegations very seriously,” the statement read.
“As part of the ongoing investigation, the club will need to view an unedited version of the video footage and full transcript of the discussions that took place.”
Hasselbaink has strongly denied the claims and is understood to be deeply upset by them.
Meanwhile, Leeds dismissed the Cellino allegations as a “non-story”.
The Italian, who denies any wrongdoing, appears to suggest to members of a fictitious Asian firm that they become shareholders in the club in order to receive portions of players’ transfer fees.
“This is plainly not a suggestion as to how to circumvent the rules but rather an accurate, albeit concise, explanation of how to operate within the confines of the rules,” a club statement read.