English foot­ball faces cor­rup­tion is­sues

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS -

Min­is­ter of Cul­ture, Gen­der, En­ter­tain­ment and Sport, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange (third right, front), Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment for Cen­tral St Cather­ine, presents the cheque to the win­ning team, McKoy Lands, fol­low­ing the fi­nal of the INSPORTS/Babsy Grange Com­mu­nity Foot­ball com­pe­ti­tion. Look­ing on are INSPORTS’ ad­min­is­tra­tive di­rec­tor Ian An­drews (right, back row) and INSPORTS of­fi­cers for the parish (at right). MANCH­ESTER, Eng­land (AP): When lec­tur­ing FIFA on ethics, English soc­cer lead­ers look like the moral ar­biters of the game.

It’s an at­ti­tude that gives the English Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion lit­tle wig­gle room when prob­lems land on its own doorstep.

So once the Eng­land team man­ager’s in­tegrity was dam­aged by un­guarded com­ments to un­der­cover re­porters about il­le­gal trans­fer prac­tices, while at­tempt­ing to cash in on his pres­ti­gious job, Sam Al­lardyce’s po­si­tion was un­ten­able. Al­lardyce’s con­tract was ter­mi­nated af­ter 67 days and one game in charge.

“If we are go­ing to be opin­ion­ated on how peo­ple be­have in foot­ball in Eng­land and in­ter­na­tion­ally, we have to live the high stan­dards our­selves,” FA chair­man Greg Clarke said. “A prob­lem came. We dealt with it very quickly.”

But the prob­lems aren’t go­ing away. Far from it, with fur­ther al­le­ga­tions of wrong­do­ing emerg­ing and pres­sure to act from the gov­ern­ment.

The lat­est in­stall­ment of the Daily Tele­graph in­ves­ti­ga­tion filmed an agent ac­cus­ing 10 man­agers, which it did not name, of tak­ing bribes linked to player trans­fers. Such cor­rup­tion has long been sus­pected in Eng­land, which hosts the world’s rich­est do­mes­tic foot­ball com­pe­ti­tion in the Premier League.

“The vast num­ber of Premier League trans­fers, loans, and con­tract rene­go­ti­a­tions in­volv­ing large sums of money, com­bined with the greed of those in­volved in the deals, give rise to cor­rup­tion,” Liz Ellen, head of sports at law firm Mish­con de Reya, told The As­so­ci­ated Press. There is one quick fix. “There should be a sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers,” Ellen said. “Man­agers and play­ers should not have the same agents as this cre­ates con­flicts of in­ter­ests,ap­pear­ances of bias or con­flict which are dif­fi­cult to over­come.”

The League Man­agers As­so­ci­a­tion said it is tak­ing the al­le­ga­tions of bribery “very se­ri­ously as they are ob­vi­ously dam­ag­ing to the game”.

DAM­AGED IM­AGE

There’s more dam­age to come, with the Tele­graph promis­ing fur­ther rev­e­la­tions about LMA mem­bers.

The first video was pub­lished on Mon­day, show­ing Al­lardyce ap­pear­ing to of­fer ad­vice to fic­ti­tious busi­ness­men on how to side­step an out­lawed player trans­fer prac­tise and also to ne­go­ti­ate a £400,000-pound pub­lic-speak­ing con­tract to top up an an­nual Eng­land salary of £3 mil­lion.

A fur­ther record­ing showed Al­lardyce mock­ing pre­de­ces­sor Roy Hodg­son, who was fired af­ter Eng­land’s hu­mil­i­at­ing loss to tiny Ice­land at the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship in June, ques­tion­ing the FA’s fi­nan­cial strat­egy and talk­ing dis­mis­sively about the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s pres­i­dent, Prince Wil­liam.

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