The Daily Telegraph has secretly filmed England football manager Sam Allardyce during a ten-month investigation into football.
Reporters from the paper posed as businessmen from a Far East firm looking to profit from player transfers.
According to the paper he negotiated a £400,000 fee for potentially travelling to the Far East four times to speak to investors. And he reportedly offered advice about the controversial practice of companies holding shares in players.
The practice of “third party ownership” in football was banned in 2008 by the FA, it allows companies to profit from the sale of players.
The Telegraph said: “A £400,000 agreement with a football agency firm is a potential conflict of interest for an international football manager as it raises the possibility that he is ’employed’ by a company whose footballer clients could benefit from preferential treatment.”
The undercover filming of Allardyce is a breach of privacy and of the Editors’ Code which can be only be justified if the Telegraph can show its revelations were sufficiently in the public interest.
It may also have to satisfy press regulator IPSO that it had grounds to investigate Allardyce, and that this was not a ‘fishing expedition’, if the England boss does choose to lodge a complaint.
The Telegraph said it began investigating corruption in English football last year “after receiving information that specific managers, officials and agents were giving or receiving cash payments to secure player transfers”.
The Telegraph said it put detailed questions to the FA yesterday and it responded by requesting full transcripts of the undercover encounters.
The paper said it also gave Allardyce 12 hours to respond in advance of publication and he had failed to do so.
A spokesman for the FA told the paper: “We have asked The Daily Telegraph to provide us with the full facts in relation to this matter.”
A meeting between Allardyce and the Telegraph reporters was held at the May Fair hotel in London on 19 August organised by football agent Scott McGarvey
Moloney told the undercover reporters: “The way I see it working is this: what you want to do, is to have Sam as the attraction, that brings investors into the fold. So he could talk about football for 15 minutes.”
Allardyce said: “Keynote speaking, that’s what I’d be doing, keynote speaking. I’m a keynote speaker.
“The fact that I’m going to be turning up on four occasions throughout the year, doing meet and greets and nothing else, so it’s not, nobody’s going to come back to me and say ‘I met Sam and I invested in this, this portfolio, and he told me to go and buy these young players, and that young player’, and that’s, you know. So they can’t blame me, do you know what I mean?”
Times football writer Henry Winter said on Twitter: “Telegraph revelations very damaging for Allardyce. It’s the cumulative effect, particularly the third-party stuff. FA inquest inevitable.
“Talked to a few FA people tonight. Allardyce is in for a painful inquisition starting properly tomorrow. Touch and go whether he survives.”
But his colleague, Times chief football correspondent, Oliver Kay said: “Struggling to get my head round this. Serious naivety/misjudgment from Allardyce, but what a gratuitous stitch-up.”
The Sun’s chief football writer Neil Ashton wrote: “To offer to guide the Telegraph’s investigation team through the murky world of third party ownership is another stain on his character.”
The Daily Mail’s chief sports reporter Matt Lawton wrote: “Difficult to see how he survives the most embarrassing episode for an England manager since Glenn Hoddle said the disabled were paying for the sins of a previous life.”