Tuesday, October 03, 2006

English corruption inquiry needs two months more

"One by one, the power brokers of English soccer - the chairmen and chief executives of Premier League clubs - filed out the Churchill Hotel after being told by a former policeman the extent of corruption he suspects some of them are engaged in. Most of the chairmen had nothing to say," reported Rob Hughes in the International Herald Tribune.

"They had just heard John Stevens, the former commissioner of the London police, request two more months to conclude his inquiries into corrupt trading of leading players. After a seven-month investigation, ordered by the league itself, Stevens and his team had investigated 362 transfers involving 29 clubs over a two-year span up to January. His interim conclusion was that 39 transfers, 1 in 10 of those deals, required further scrutiny."

Stevens said eight clubs, which he did not name, had been involved. He called on the Football Association, the supreme body in English football, to use its power to obtain bank details of licensed agents who declined his calls for disclosure. To date, only 65 of the 150 agents Stevens's team wished to question have complied. Hughes commented that "all of this left the impression that the whispers of systemic corruption in English soccer are about to be substantiated. Either that, or Stevens's reputation will take a beating."

See also: English player agents warned to open accounts (3 Oct)

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