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Police to review football bribery and corruption claims after newspaper sting

Published 29/09/2016

Barnsley coach Tommy Wright has been suspended following the allegations in the Daily Telegraph
Barnsley coach Tommy Wright has been suspended following the allegations in the Daily Telegraph

Football bribery and corruption claims made in an undercover newspaper sting are being investigated by police.

Detectives have spoken to the Football Association (FA) and journalists involved in the undercover Daily Telegraph probe, City of London Police confirmed.

The force will review material obtained by the newspaper to determine if any criminal offences have been committed, but no formal allegations of criminal activity have been received, a spokesman said.

Claims of corruption have been published as part of a wide-ranging investigation by the Telegraph.

The probe also led to the downfall of England manager Sam Allardyce after just one match and 67 days in charge.

Allardyce's contract was terminated by mutual consent on Tuesday night after he was covertly filmed appearing to advise undercover reporters on how to sidestep FA transfer regulations.

The 61-year-old said he made an "error of judgment" and had "paid the consequences".

Barnsley FC sacked assistant head coach Tommy Wright on Thursday following allegations by the paper that he took a £5,000 payment to help place players at his club.

The 50-year-old Scot, who maintains his innocence, was suspended after the allegation came to light on Wednesday but the South Yorkshire club has now terminated his contract with immediate effect.

A statement published on the club's website explained that Wright was summoned on Thursday morning to meet chief executive Linton Brown, who decided to dismiss him after hearing his response to the claims.

"The club was unaware of such matters nor was it involved in any wrongdoing," the statement added, before saying it would continue to investigate the matter and co-operate with the authorities.

Queens Park Rangers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino have also been shown in video footage as part of the undercover investigation.

The Telegraph alleged that Hasselbaink requested a fee of £55,000 to work for a fake Far Eastern firm seeking to sell players to the club.

The paper said it had also obtained footage appearing to show Mr Cellino explaining to representatives of a fictitious Far East firm how they can circumvent FA and Fifa transfer rules.

Hasselbaink has denied any wrongdoing, while Leeds rejected the allegations and described the report as a "non-story".

The Telegraph has also alleged that 10 as-yet-unnamed managers took bribes in player transfers.

A spokesman for City of London Police said: "Following recent media allegations of bribery and corruption within football, detectives from the City of London Police's Economic Crime Directorate have spoken to journalists involved and the FA .

"Officers will be reviewing any available material with a view to establishing whether any criminal offences have been committed.

"At this stage no formal allegations of criminal activity have been received. The material will be reviewed and a further statement will be made in due course."

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