Sam Allardyce has only been England manager for 67 days and one World Cup qualifier, but now “Big Sam” is reportedly at risk of losing his post after he was caught on film advising undercover journalists how to circumvent FA and FIFA rules on player transfers.
An investigative report by the Daily Telegraph alleges Allardyce used his position to negotiate a £400,000 deal with what he believed were representatives of a Far East firm looking to profit from the billion-dollar Premier League transfer market, to act as a consultant on how to bypass rules against third-party ownership.
The problem for Allardyce: the “representatives” were actually Telegraph journalists posing as businessmen.
Allardyce met twice with the undercover journalists, the first time just weeks after his England appointment, telling them it was “not a problem” to get around his new employer’s “ridiculous” rules.
Third-party ownership, where investors purchase a player’s rights in exchange for portions of future transfer fees, was first banned in England in 2008, and worldwide by FIFA in 2015.
In the video accompanying the Telegraph report, Allardyce says he knew of agents who still get away with third-party ownership and pledged to travel to Singapore and Hong Kong to help the firm do the same. Allardyce also notes that West Ham’s Enner Valencia had been under a third party ownership agreement when Allardyce signed him for £12 million in 2014.
Following the undercover report, The Times now reports that the “deeply disturbed” FA has summoned Allardyce for crisis talks at Wembley and is leaning towards the sack. England under-21 manager Gareth Southgate would likely take over as caretaker manager for the Three Lions’ upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovenia on October 8 and 11.
FA chairman Greg Clarke told The Times they were looking to get all their facts straight before reaching a decision .
“I got a call related to the issue and I want the facts and I will look into it — it is not appropriate to pre-judge the issue,” Clarke said. “With things like this you have to take a deep breath and have all the facts and hear everything from everyone. Then you can make a judgment about what to do and that’s what we will do”
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