Investigate payments claims: UK minister - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Investigate payments claims: UK minister

20/09/2006 07:55:03 PM Comments (0)

British sports minister Richard Caborn said Wednesday that allegations of illegal payments in English football should be thoroughly investigated.

Tuesday's BBC Panorama program said that sources told them of 18 unnamed past and present managers in the Premier League who had received the payments or "bungs" from transfers with two agents implying Bolton manager Sam Allardyce had taken them.

Bolton issued a statement Wednesday saying that it was "reviewing the Panorama program carefully" and may request further information from the BBC.

Allardyce has denied any wrongdoing.

Caborn, speaking on BBC Radio Five Live, called on the BBC to hand its evidence to the Premier League's inquiry, headed by former London police chief John Stevens, which is due to announce its findings into illegal payments in football on October 2.

"The integrity of sport needs to be upheld and there are proper rules for managers and agents. These allegations damage the integrity of football and need to be looked at properly," Caborn told the BBC.

"The program alleged they had names of 18 managers who had received illegal payments, and I think they should give all their findings over to the Stevens inquiry.

"This reinforces what I have been trying to do to bring in greater regulation into football through the European Football Review."

A Premier League statement backed Caborn's view.

Its statement said: "The Premier League have asked for the BBC to make their evidence available to the Stevens inquiry.

"The Premier League takes all allegations of this nature seriously, which is why we launched an inquiry into alleged irregular payments in transfers back in January of this year.

"As we have made clear any evidence from any source is welcomed. Indeed when the BBC initially approached us regarding Panorama's findings we requested they be submitted to Lord Stevens for investigation."

The Panorama program, entitled "Undercover - Football's Dirty Secrets", also made allegations regarding indirect approaches to players involving Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp and Chelsea's director of youth football, Frank Arnesen.

Allardyce's son Craig was also accused by the programme makers of receiving secret payments for the transfer to Bolton of three players.

Craig also told a BBC reporter that his father knew about these payments and has also denied any wrongdoing in his Bolton deals or in his relationship with the club, the BBC said.

All those accused in the program have denied any wrongdoing.

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