London (AFP) – Eight current or former Premier League football managers were on Tuesday accused of taking kick-backs for player transfers, as part of a broader newspaper sting which led to England manager Sam Allardyce being axed.
Three agents were filmed discussing corruption in football and the use of illegal “bung” payments to sign players, which the Daily Telegraph said involved eight current or former Premier League managers and two second-tier Championship bosses.
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 over lunch at Manchester’s San Carlo restaurant, the newspaper said.
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?”
Football agent Dax Price claimed one manager would increase players’ wages and arrange for each of them to pay him a 4,000-pound ($5,200, 4,640 euros) monthly cut.
“It’s almost like corruption is just staring you in the face,” he was recorded saying.
A third agent, former Manchester United player Scott McGarvey, said he gave an associate 30,000 pounds to secure a player transfer. He explained he would arrange payments through an account in Monaco.
The Daily Telegraph did not name the managers allegedly involved, while it stated the three agents repeated many of the same names. The newspaper said it has passed transcripts of the conversations to the English Football Association and the police.
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 allegations follow the departure on Tuesday of Allardyce as England manager, a day after the Daily Telegraph published footage of him discussing the banned system of third-party ownership of players.
Allardyce was also filmed negotiating lucrative speaking engagements in Asia and making damaging remarks about the FA and his predecessor Roy Hodgson.
The 61-year-old was axed just 67 days into the job as England manager, after he and the FA agreed his position had become untenable.
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