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English football scandal escalates as national team resets for World Cup tilt


England’s Football Association is awaiting “full and unfettered disclosure of all available material” from London newspaper the Daily Telegraph, as the corruption allegations engulfing soccer dramatically escalates.

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Southampton assistant manager Eric Black has been implicated in the fallout, while second-teir club Barnsley’s assistant coach Tommy Wright was sacked after claims made against him.

The newspaper’s latest claims surround Black, a former interim manager at Aston Villa, 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.

On what is now a fourth day of allegations, the FA said it had yet to receive the requested material and wanted to investigate matters fully as soon as possible.

“The FA treats allegations of this nature seriously and is committed to investigating thoroughly, in conjunction with any other appropriate body” the statement read, before adding the information is “yet to be provided”.

Earlier in the day a Telegraph spokesperson said 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 PS5,000 ($A8,500) payment from undercover reporters posing as representatives of fake investors from the Far East.

The 50-year-old Scot, who maintains his innocence, was suspended after the allegation came to light on Wednesday but the South Yorkshire club has now terminated his contract with immediate effect.

Wright is now 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 past 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”.

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”.

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”.

This follows remarks from Allardyce and one of his predecessors as England boss, Steve McClaren, that suggest some in the game feel the newspaper has entrapped people into making remarks they would not normally have made or necessarily meant.

As well as the allegations about Wright, also implicated have been QPR manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Leeds owner Massimo Cellino in separate controversies.

Interim England manager Gareth Southgate has precious little time to prepare for upcoming World Cup qualifiers, with Malta arriving at Wembley next Saturday before the national team teravels trip to Slovenia on October 11.

Southgate will name his squad for those matches on Sunday, and it is understood Wayne Rooney will remain as captain.

The 30-year-old’s position in the starting line-up, never mind on the field, for both club and country remains a hot topic of debate, but the interim manager has spoken to the forward to tell him he will stay as skipper.

Southgate, who has held several roles at the FA over the years, is said to have long been impressed by Rooney’s leadership and is understandably keen for continuity during these turbulent times.

It is news that comes at a time when confidence is as big a question as his form, with Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho admitting ahead of the Europa League tie with Zorya Luhansk that he may have to “protect” the forward.

The Portuguese manager this week chose to name Rooney on the bench for a second successive match, but teammate Chris Smalling last weekend backed Manchester United and England’s “main man” to start firing again.

“He was the same, as in before the game when we’re all getting ready,” he said after the captain was named on the bench against Leicester City.

“He is often one of the most vocal and he was the same.

“Regardless of whatever the situation is, whatever game, whether he is on the bench or playing or whatever, he is always that same type of character and that’s why he is England’s main man and our main man.”


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