After the stunning revelations which lost Sam Allardyce his England job this week it was promised that a number of high profile names would continue to be released in the coming week and this evening, The Telegraph has followed up on this claim naming Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Barnsley assistant Tommy Wright and Leeds owner Massimo Cellino as part of its investigation.
QPR manager Hasselbaink was filmed negotiating a price of £55k for speaking at an investors meeting in the far-east and when pushed on signing a player belonging to the supposed firm he replied “give me a f**king player. A good player.” This is despite the obvious conflict of interest and breach of FA rules it would entail.
He has tonight released the following statement and denies any wrongdoing:
“I have today, through my lawyers, responded in full to the accusations levelled against me by The Telegraph.
“I was approached by Mr McGarvey and Ms Newell of The Telegraph purporting to be players’ agents. They offered me a fee to make a speech in Singapore.
“I do not see anything unusual in being offered to be paid to make a speech. I did not make any promises in return.“I did not ask QPR to purchase any of the players who were said to be managed by Mr McGarvey and Ms Newell (the fake football agents) and did not and would not recommend the purchase of a player for my personal gain. I deny any accusations of wrongdoing on my part.”
Arguably the most serious incident caught on camera is that of Barnsley assistant Tommy Wright accepting what is later revealed as £5000 to promote players who could be put into Barnsley and to encourage players he’s scouted to sign up to the far-east firm before making their next move.
When he was told that he would be paid “readies” he simply said: “You know where I live.” He went on to discuss the Barnsley players Alfie Mawson and Conor Hourihane as well as Aberdeen player Joe Nuttall, none of whom knew they were the subject of the conversations .
Finally after much talk he states: “I can just recommend players to you that I’ve gone and seen, and you will have to do your spicy dealing, whatever you do.”
Wright accepted the “bung” at a Leeds hotel on August 11th, instructing the supposed agent to leave the envelope beside him before stuffing it in his jacket pocket upon leaving the hotel.
The least surprising participant in this scandal is Leeds owner Massimo Cellino, who was filmed talking openly about third party ownership in England and how the firm would be able to get around it by investing with the club in Leeds United players.
He talks of an investment deal which would allow them to own 20% of the club and finance and buy the players that they like at the club while still “covering themselves” from any risk or exposure. Essentially their shareholding would be payed to them on the profits of player transfers at the club, thus getting around the rules of third party ownership.
Cellino goes on to share some very strong views on the English football culture calling it the “worst in the world” and says that Argentinian’s and Brazilian’s are “babies compared to what I have already experienced in England”.
With The Telegraph continuing to release names of prominent members of English football over the coming days, the scrutiny of the culture in England is only going to intensify and this continued scandal will do nothing to help to greedy image of the game worldwide.