LONDON: Britain’s sports minister has called for the latest allegations of corruption in English football to be “investigated fully” following Sam Allardyce’s sacking as England manager.
Allardyce’s mere 67 days in charge of the national side dramatically came to a close on Tuesday.
The 61-year-old was secretly filmed giving advice on how to circumnavigate transfer rules, criticised the Football Association’s decision to rebuild Wembley and mocked his England predecessor Roy Hodgson.
Allardyce, appointed England manager in July on a 3 million ($3.9 mn, 3.5 mn euros)-a-year contract, also agreed to travel to Singapore and Hong Kong as an ambassador for the reporters’ fictitious firm for a fee of 400,000.
The British newspaper investigation has also alleged eight unnamed managers with Premier League experience took bribes for the transfers of players during secretly filmed interviews.
Tracey Crouch, Britain’s sports minister said the allegations were “very concerning”.
“The integrity of sport is absolutely paramount and we have been clear that we expect the highest standards of governance and transparency from sports governing bodies, here in the UK and on the international stage,” she said Wednesday.
“In this context, the recent allegations concerning English football are very concerning and we will be discussing the matter with the football authorities.
“All the evidence presented to them must be investigated fully and we stand ready to assist in any way we can.”
Her comments came after former England captain Alan Shearer said the sheer amount of money within the English game, as exemplified by the lucrative Premier League, had created an unhealthy culture.
“I didn’t think England could stoop any lower from what happened in the summer in the Euros (losing) to Iceland. And now, here we are. We’re a laughing stock of world football,” Shearer told the BBC on Tuesday.
Asked if there is a problem with money in the English game, Shearer added: “Yeah, we’ve got a problem. It’s greed, isn’t it?”
While some within football felt Allardyce had been harshly treated, a former FA chairman said the English governing body had little choice but to sack him.
“The FA have made exactly the right decision,” said Greg Dyke, FA chairman from 2013 until earlier this year.
“If you want to be the England manager you have to be whiter than white…This guy was being paid more than 3 million a year, so why was he running around trying to find 400,000 from somewhere?”
As Allardyce accepted Wednesday, he had made an “error of judgment,” several British newspapers reported he had received a 1 million pay-off.
“I wonder whether there’s a pay-off or not – I hope not, because I don’t think 50 or 60 days’ work merits a pay-off,” David Bernstein, like Dyke a former FA chairman, told the BBC.
David Davies, a former FA executive, said it was “inevitable” Allardyce would lose his job once the Telegraph’s revelations became public.
“I was talking to former players yesterday morning … and they said they thought it was inevitable, because it would have dogged him from now on in any England career,” Davies told the BBC on Wednesday.
Allardyce insisted Wednesday he had been a victim of “entrapment” but Davies, also a former BBC sports reporter, said:
“You could argue: was Sam entrapped? But it is the reality and football is not going to change that reality.
“That is the reality of the society that we live in.”