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By ESPN Staff

FA summon Newell to Soho Square over bung claims

Luton manager Mike Newell today pledged to 'dig out' the club officials and agents who offered him transfer bungs.

Newell claimed yesterday football was still blighted by such payments and called upon the sport's authorities to clamp down on the practice once and for all.

And after Football Association officials called Newell to a meeting early next week to discuss his remarks, the former Everton and Blackburn striker insisted he would gladly back up his words with facts.

'I have been offered sweeteners by agents and certain club officials to sell players from this club,' Newell said. 'I always say I am not interested and I never give it a minute's thought.

'If I was open to that sort of thing, I might well have taken a sweetener.

'I have no problem substantiating what I have said - and I have no problem digging people out. I received a fax from the FA this morning, and I am quite happy to meet people and talk to them.

'I can back up everything I have said, and I can sleep well at night. The matter is in the hands of the authorities now.'

Newell - who has never had an agent - remains particularly upset at the amount of money he believes players' representatives are making from transfer deals and contract negotiations.

The 40-year-old boss challenged fellow managers to back his stance against them, but he does not expect many to do so.

'I know there are other managers who do not like dealing with agents,' he continued. 'There are plenty of managers out there who think like that.

'But I fear there won't be a long queue of people lining up to back me on this issue.'

Earlier, Football Association chief executive Brian Barwick welcomed Newell's commitment to 'name names' on BBC Radio Five Live - and promised to conduct a full investigation should Newell provide hard evidence.

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore also urged Newell to do his duty for football by expanding on his allegations to the FA.

'These are very serious claims that Mike Newell has made,' Barwick said in a statement.

'We welcome the fact that he has said that he is willing to provides names and details of people who have breached the rules.

'We have contacted Mike this morning and will meet him early next week. If he provides us with evidence we will investigate fully.

Barwick stressed: 'The FA takes this issue very seriously.

'If people have evidence we would expect them to come forward and provide it to our Compliance Department, who thoroughly investigate evidence of wrong-doing.'

The FA brought in new agents' regulations from January 1 this year, which are much stronger and clearer than before.

They represent a significant step forward in the governance of agents' activities, introducing measures to improve transparency, address conflicts of interest and increase protection for young players.

Football League chairman Sir Brian Mawhinney last summer called for tighter regulations to be introduced governing the behaviour of agents in this country after a League study found that Coca-Cola Championship clubs spent nearly £7million on agents' fees during the 2004-05 season.

Football Association officials will meet with Newell early next week to further discuss his allegations and the issues they raise, with the FA intimating they would welcome any rogue agents to be brought to task.

The Luton manager Newell maintains he will name names when he meets with the FA, pledging to 'dig out' the club officials and agents who offered him 'sweeteners'.

The 40-year-old Everton and Blackburn striker - who has never had an agent - insisted he would gladly back up his words with facts.

Newell said: 'I have been offered sweeteners by agents and certain club officials to sell players from this club

'I always say I am not interested and I never give it a minute's thought.

'If I was open to that sort of thing, I might well have taken a sweetener.

'I have no problem substantiating what I have said - and I have no problem digging people out. I received a fax from the FA this morning, and I am quite happy to meet people and talk to them.

'I can back up everything I have said, and I can sleep well at night. The matter is in the hands of the authorities now.'

The FA brought in new agents' regulations from January 1 this year, which are much stronger and clearer than before.

They represent a significant step forward in the governance of agents' activities, introducing measures to improve transparency, address conflicts of interest and increase protection for young players.

FA chief executive Brian Barwick has welcomed Newell's commitment to 'name names' - and promised to conduct a full investigation should the Luton manager provide hard evidence, while the Premier League have also urged him to expand on the allegations for the good of the game.

Barwick commented: 'These are very serious claims that Mike Newell has made.

'We welcome the fact that he has said that he is willing to provides names and details of people who have breached the rules.

'We have contacted Mike this morning and will meet him early next week. If he provides us with evidence we will investigate fully.'

Barwick stressed: 'The FA takes this issue very seriously.

'If people have evidence we would expect them to come forward and provide it to our Compliance Department, who thoroughly investigate evidence of wrong-doing.'