Football Association launch investigation into Sam Allardyce's comments as ex-Sunderland boss fights for job

Sam Allardyce faces a fight to stay at the England helm as the Football Association investigates secretly-filmed conversations which appear to show the recently-appointed manager making a variety of controversial comments to undercover reporters.

Tuesday, 27th September 2016, 11:21 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 1:46 pm
Sam Allardyce

Named Roy Hodgson's successor after the embarrassing Euro 2016 exit to Iceland, the former Bolton, West Ham and Sunderland boss' position is under great scrutiny just 67 days after being handed the role of his dreams.

Allardyce was secretly filmed by the Daily Telegraph's investigations team during a 10-month probe, which the newspaper claims "separately unearthed widespread evidence of bribery and corruption in British football".

The 61-year-old was recorded appearing to make numerous controversial remarks about subjects varying from England players to regulations, and Hodgson to his employers, with key FA figures convening on Tuesday to analyse the matter.

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The governing body has asked the newspaper for all the facts and was awaiting a full response late on Monday evening, when FA chairman Greg Clarke underlined the importance of taking stock rather than taking a rash decision.

"I got a call related to the issue and I want the facts in the morning and I will look into it - it is not appropriate to pre-judge the issue," Clarke told the Times.

"With things like this you have to take a deep breath and have all the facts and hear everything from everyone.

"Then you can make a judgement about what to do and that's what we will do. Natural justice requires us to get to the bottom of these issues before we make any decision."

Allardyce left his home in Bolton, Greater Manchester, shortly before 7am on Tuesday, leaving via the side of his detached house and swiftly getting into a black Mercedes car parked on his front drive.

Wearing a suit, and a shirt unbuttoned to the navel, he then drove off without comment.

The Telegraph's video appears to show Allardyce negotiating a £400,000 deal to address investors in a Far East firm, albeit saying he would "have to run it past the powers that be" before committing to a deal.

The England manager was also captured appearing to tell a fictitious businessman how to circumvent third-party ownership laws, saying it was "not a problem" to get around FA rules which stop third parties "owning" football players' economic rights.

The controversial practice was banned by the FA in 2008 over concerns it compromised the integrity of the game, as the third party could profit whenever a player was sold.

When asked about the rules, Allardyce was filmed on a hidden camera apparently saying: "It's not a problem."

He added an unnamed group had been "doing it for years" and "you can still get around it", suggesting they employ the player's agents to compensate for the fact they are no longer allowed to profit from each transfer directly.

He added: "You get a percentage of the player's agent's fee that the agent pays to you, the company, because he's done that new deal at the club again or they sell him on, and you're not getting a part of the transfer fee any more, because you can't do that.

"But, you get - because of the size of the contracts now, the contract will be worth 30, 40million, at 10 per cent and you've done a deal with the agent where you're getting five per cent of the agent's fee, which is massive for doing about two hours' work."

The meeting with reporters also saw Allardyce appear to be filmed questioning predecessor Hodgson's decisions at Euro 2016, at times calling him "Woy" - a word used in a headline in 2012 that the FA called "unacceptable" and relating to Hodgson's rhotacism.

On his employers, the FA, the video seems to show the England boss saying: "They're all about making money aren't they? You know the FA's the richest football association in the world?"

He qualified that by saying the governing body is not the richest as "they stupidly spent £870million on Wembley, so they are still paying that debt off'".

Allardyce called Prince Harry a "very naughty boy" and complained that the Duke of Cambridge, the FA president, did not turn up to last week's Euro 2020 launch.

The England manager is also reported to have been filmed discussing the gambling habits of the country's current or former senior internationals, the chances of players lining up for England and Hodgson's assistant Gary Neville.

Allardyce, who led Sunderland to Premier League survival last season, was appointed England manager on July 22 after what the FA called a "comprehensive and structured process".

His England reign got off to a winning start earlier this month with a 1-0 World Cup qualifying win in Slovakia. Further qualifiers follow at home to Malta on October 8 and in Slovakia three days later.