As many as eight current or former Premier League managers have been accused of taking ‘bungs’ for the transfer of players.
In the latest allegation from The Telegraph’s investigation, they have allegedly found further evidence of corruption in English football from the Premier League and the Championship – where two other current managers have been accused. The Telegraph also says it will reveal the identity of a current Premier League assistant manager who accepted a £5,000 payment by their reporters purporting to be Far Eastern investors.
In a secretly filmed meeting by undercover reporters, a number of football agents claimed to have made payments to managers in order for them to sign their player.
One agent said the corruption in English football was so widespread that “everything is under the table” while another claimed he dealt with a “very bent” manager who asked for payments into his offshore account when transfers were agreed.
These allegations are the latest in the investigation which saw Sam Allardyce lose his job as England manager after he was filmed offering advice on how to get around FA transfer rules. It gives the Football Association a second potential crisis to deal with, with attempts to clean up the game in England appearing to have failed.
One football agent heavily involved in the allegations is Italian Pino Pagliara, who spoke to The Telegraph’s undercover reporters about the “greed” in the English game, unaware he was being recorded.
“There’s one thing I’ve always been able to rely on, and that is the greed of general managers,” Pagliara said in a meeting at the San Carlo restaurant in Manchester. “Here it’s even worse… I thought the Italians were corrupt.”
Identifying one manager in particular, Pagliara said: “We know him very, very well. We do a transfer to [named club], [X] has winked at us and said ‘yeah, I want the player. Is there a little coffee for me, Pino?’ Yeah, that’s what he will say. ‘Yeah, course there is’. I’ll negotiate that coffee as well.”
Pagliara went on to reveal how managers are using different methods to get around being identified for taking bungs, with the payments put through various bank accounts or people to avoid setting off any alarms.
“[The manager] will probably tell me, ‘OK I’ve got this guy who I work with a lot, he can put an invoice for consultancy’, right, and he will do that. Nobody is stupid these days, they understand the importance of covering their tracks.
“We will not make any payments directly to him. There’ll be a consultancy agreement with somebody who he trusts enough to let them do that and then he gets it back, that’s how it works.”
Pagliara also boasted that he could end the career of one manager, adding: “He’s very bent… I’ve got bank accounts of his, I’ve paid money to him, yeah course I did.”
The manager’s representatives, when contacted by The Telegraph, denies the allegations and labelled them “completely false”.
Pagliara also identified a second manager who allegedly increased player wages in order to receive kickbacks. “There was three players, and every month they would come into his office with £4,000 cash each of them, so he was getting £12,000. What happened was when they had done the deal he said ‘they’ve done the wages and you’re going to get ten grand a week, so I’m going to give you 12 grand a week and you’re going to give me four grand a month – so obviously they were getting four grand a month extra and he was getting four grand.”
Pagliara, who was banned from football for five years in 2005 after being implicated in a scandal surrounding Genoa and Venezia that saw the former pay the latter more than £150,000 to lose the final match of the 2004/05 season, denies all allegations of wrongdoing by The Telegraph.
He said on Tuesday: “I have never paid bungs to anyone. I have never paid any money to any of these managers.” He also added that the claims were “fabricated” and the “hearsay” was created to impress the supposed investors.
Source: Independent UK