JUST two months after taking the reins as England manager, Sam Allardyce is facing a formal FA investigation after being caught out by a Daily Telegraph sting operation.
The former Bolton hero is on the brink of being sacked from his role after being filmed telling a group of undercover reporters masquerading as Far East businessmen that it was easy to “get round” FA rules regarding third-party player ownership.
Telling the reporters that he knows particular agents “doing it all the time” Allardyce’s fate will now hinge on whether the FA interpret his embarrassing revelations as a simple statement of fact, or as advice he was offering the ‘businessmen’.
The Telegraph initiated the sting operation by pretending to be a firm based in Singapore and Hong Kong wanting to buy footballers and offering Allardyce £400,000 a year to address their investors.
Third-party ownership sees companies or agents own players and their transfer rights. It was banned in the UK in 2008 and worldwide by Fifa last year for posing a risk to the game’s integrity.
Even if ‘Big Sam’ and his lawyers convince the FA that his revelations were simply observations it is highly unlikely he’ll be entirely let off the hook.
The tape transcript sees the 61-year-old, who was implicated in a 2006 Panorama documentary alleging that he took bribes from agents, make a series of damaging remarks aimed at the FA and other English football personalities.
Mocking his predecessor Roy Hodgson’s voice by calling him “Woy”, Allardyce said that Hodgson’s assistant Gary Neville should have been told to “sit down and shut up”, and lambasts the FA’s rebuilding of Wembley as “stupid”.