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Allardyce admits ‘judgement’ error in England farce


London (AFP) – Sam Allardyce admitted an “error of judgement” on Wednesday after his one-game career as England manager came to a humiliating end following controversial comments made to undercover reporters.

“Entrapment has won on this occasion and I have to accept that,” Allardyce told reporters outside his home in Bolton, northwest England.

“I think that on reflection it was a silly thing to do,” he said. “But just to let everybody know, I sort of helped out what was somebody I’d known for 30 years (football agent Scott McGarvey).

“Unfortunately it was an error of judgement on my behalf and I’ve paid the consequences,” he added the morning after he was forced out following a mere 67 days in charge of England.

Meanwhile, amid reports he had a received a £1 million ($1.3 million, 1.1 million euros) pay-off, Allardyce refused to rule out a future role in football. 

“Who knows? We’ll wait and see.”

Allardyce’s England reign was sensationally brought to a close on Tuesday as he paid the price for indiscreetly talking with undercover Daily Telegraph reporters posing as Far East businessmen. 

The 61-year-old was secretly filmed giving advice on how to circumnavigate transfer rules and mocking his England predecessor Roy Hodgson. 

Allardyce, appointed England manager in July on a £3 million ($3.9 million, 3.5 million euros)-a-year contract, also agreed to travel to Singapore and Hong Kong as an ambassador for their fictitious firm for a fee of £400,000. 

Allardyce and England’s governing Football Association agreed his position was untenable.

The Telegraph investigation has also alleged eight unnamed managers with Premier League experience took bribes for the transfers of players during secretly filmed interviews.

Britain’s sports minister, Tracey Crouch, said Wednesday: “The recent allegations concerning English football are very concerning and we will be discussing the matter with the football authorities.” 

– ‘Full force of the rules’ –

Those authorities — the Football Association, the Premier League and the English Football League — issued a brief joint statement later Wednesday insisting they were serious about stamping out corruption from the game.

“English football takes the governance of the game extremely seriously with integrity being of paramount importance,” the statement said.

“Any substantive allegations will be investigated with the full force of the rules at our disposal, which are wide-ranging and well-developed. 

“In addition, should we find any evidence of criminality we would inform and seek the support of the appropriate statutory authorities.”

Crouch’s remarks and the football authorities’ statement came after Alan Shearer, a former England captain, said English football had a problem with “greed”.

England’s League Mangers’ Association said: “We take the allegations very seriously as they are obviously damaging to the game.

“We know the FA has requested full disclosure from the Telegraph of all the relevant information it has, and we are working with the FA in dealing with the allegations, following the correct processes and procedures.”

– ‘Abuse’ –

Amid concerns about the conduct of football agents raised by the Telegraph’s investigation, the Association of Football agents chairman Mike Miller called for better regulation by global governing body FIFA and UEFA, its European equivalent.  

“The global move to deregulation has not worked and it has allowed the system to be more open to manipulation and abuse,” he said.

“Ultimately, changes to the current set-up should also be enforceable globally and this must involve UEFA and FIFA to help spread best practice around the world and re-introduce a system of licensing and regulation which works and is meaningful.”

With Gareth Southgate now installed as caretaker England manager, United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann ruled himself out replacing Allardyce on a permanent basis.

“No truth to the rumors regarding England,” Klinsmann, the German 1990 World Cup-winning striker who became a popular figure in English football during his time as a forward with Tottenham Hotspur, wrote on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Allardyce received sympathy from Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho.

“The only thing I can say is that I like Sam,” said Mourinho. “I feel sorry for that because I know that was a dream job and I feel sorry for him.”

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