Football agent Giuseppe Pagliara said in a conversation secretly recorded by an undercover reporter that he thanked former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson for fixing a UEFA Champions League game with a Rolex watch.
Per the Press Association (h/t the Guardian), Pagliara said Ferguson fixed a fixture between the Red Devils and Juventus. It's then alleged the Scotsman accepted a £30,000 watch.
The claims came to light in a trial for Pagliara, former Barnsley assistant manager Tommy Wright and agent Dax Price in Southwark. The trio are being investigated for bribery, a charge which they all deny.
Per the report, the men were said to have committed wrongdoing after a report from the Daily Telegraph examining corruption in football.
Prosecutor Brian O'Neill noted "the most high-profile casualty" of the investigation was Sam Allardyce, who resigned from his position as England manager following the revelations in 2016.
Per Steve Bird of the Daily Telegraph, O'Neill said Pagliara and Price would set up meetings with an undercover journalist who was posing as a businesswoman. During those meetings, Pagliara reportedly detailed how he "would look after managers" and said "99 per cent of the industry is made up of people that, if they weren’t in football, would be selling second-hand cars."
According to O'Neill, "Pagliara accused Alex Ferguson as having taken money as part of transfer deals saying he would only work with agents used to sharing money with him. He claimed he had paid Ferguson before."
O'Neill said he did not want to "malign" the former United man, noting the details were included in the trial as it showed "knowledge or beliefs" of corruption, as well as a desire to "embrace and exploit" it from Pagliara.
Ferguson retired from football in 2013, having established a reputation as one of the greatest managers in history. He won 13 Premier League titles during his 27-year spell at the helm of United, as well as the UEFA Champions League on two occasions.