Sam Allardyce Told Undercover Reporters How to Bypass FA Player-Transfer Rules

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured Columnist

TRNAVA, SLOVAKIA - SEPTEMBER 04:  Sam Allardyce manager of England looks thoughtful during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Group F qualifying match between Slovakia and England at City Arena on September 4, 2016 in Trnava, Slovakia.  (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Sam Allardyce has resigned as England manager after undercover reporters filmed him dismissing the FA's rules on third-party player ownership and labelling them as "ridiculous."

The FA announced the parting of ways on Tuesday after a report from the Telegraph on Monday revealed Allardyce told reporters posing as representatives from "a Far East firm that was hoping to profit from the Premier League’s billion-pound transfer market" that "you can still get around" FA rules banning third-party ownership, which were introduced in 2008.

Kaveh Solhekol of Sky Sports reported that he was given a list of seven managers who "fear they've been stung by Telegraph just like [Allardyce]," noting it contained five English and two former international managers.

Allardyce also negotiated a £400,000 deal to be an ambassador for the "businessmen" and agreed to travel to Singapore and Hong Kong as part of the role.

The FA asked to see the Telegraph's recordings, and FA chairman Greg Clarke said everything needed to be known before any decision could be made on the issue, per the Times (via BBC Sport):

I want all the facts, to hear everything from everyone and make a judgement about what to do. Natural justice requires us to get to the bottom of the issues before we make any decision. It is not appropriate to pre-judge the issue. With things like this you have to take a deep breath.

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Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

The 61-year-old Allardyce, who was appointed England's boss on July 22, made the comments before he took a training session—he has subsequently overseen one match, a 1-0 win over Slovakia in a FIFA World Cup qualifier.

According to the Telegraph's report, Allardyce also labelled his predecessor in the England job, Roy Hodgson, as "Woy" and said he was "too indecisive" as the Three Lions crashed out of the summer's UEFA European Football Championship in France at the hands of Iceland.

The former Sunderland, West Ham United and Newcastle United manager had some harsh words for his new employers, too, slamming the FA's approach to rebuilding Wembley Stadium, per the Telegraph:

They [the FA] stupidly spent £870 million on Wembley, so they’re still paying that debt off. They completely rebuilt it. If they’d built it anywhere else, it would have cost about £400 million. They completely floored it and then rebuilt the new stadium which is fabulous, but that sort of debt is not really what you want. Most of the money the FA make[s] will go to the interest on the debt.

While criticism of Hodgson and the FA will not have gone over well in certain circles, the revelations of Allardyce's cavalier attitude toward FA transfer rules and his willingness to offer advice on circumventing them are more damning, per BBC Match of the Day's Gary Lineker:

Gary Lineker @GaryLineker

Biggest issue for Sam Allardyce is advising on getting around 3rd party rules. As well, of course, as very poor judgement.

Per the Telegraph, an agreement with a football agency firm could be viewed as a "conflict of interest," given his position as England manager.

The FA banned third-party ownership—the practice of companies or individuals being allowed to own part of the financial rights to players and receive a cut of their transfer fees—in 2008, with FIFA following suit in 2015.

Allardyce told the undercover reporters that, despite the FA and world governing body's bans, "it's not a problem," noting the practice is still possible in "all of South America, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, all of Africa."

England's next match is scheduled for Oct. 8 against Malta, and England under-21 manager Gareth Southgate will take temporary charge.


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