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By ESPN Staff

No Boro bung allegations in BBC expose

Middlesbrough have insisted they have nothing to fear from the Panorama investigation into 'bungs' in football.

The Teessiders moved to dismiss suggestions that they had been asked about their transfer dealings as part of the BBC investigation, and their denial has been backed by the programme makers.

Boro's head of communications Dave Allan told the club's official website: 'It is totally untrue to suggest that Middlesbrough FC officials have anything to worry about from the allegations, as the BBC investigation is not, and never has been, about Boro.'

Alex Millar, who worked on the programme, added: 'There is no suggestion of any allegations against Middlesbrough FC. No allegations against Middlesbrough will be in the BBC Panorama programme on football agents.

'It is also untrue for anyone to say that Middlesbrough FC are one of the clubs who have received a letter from the BBC putting allegations to them.'

Boro also denied reports in a national newspaper this week that Fabrizio Ravanelli received a 'hidden payment' when he completed his £5.2million move to Marseille in 1997.

Chief executive Keith Lamb said: 'We want to state quite categorically that all of our dealings with Marseille with regards to Fabrizio Ravanelli were above board and proper.

'If there were any irregularities with regards to the transfer, then they certainly did not involve Middlesbrough.

'In fact, contrary to the suggestions being made, Fabrizio actually forewent money that was due to him to allow his transfer to Marseille to go through.'

The Panorama programme is threatening to lift the lid off `bungs'.

It will only add further substance to the stigma being prevalent within the modern-day game, a situation highlighted last year by Luton boss Mike Newell, even though evidence has proved difficult for the football authorities to come by.

So far, former Arsenal boss George Graham is the only high-profile personality to have been punished for accepting payments.

Lord Stevens is due to release his findings on football corruption next month after an inquiry was ordered by the Premier League.

And Pearce accepts the perception of widespread bungs is damaging to the game.

'I have no idea whether we will get rid of it but I certainly hope so,' he said.

'The cleaner the game is the better and the more honest people there are in the game, the better.

'I don't know a deal about it myself. But any problems that do come up, the quicker we deal with them, the better it is for the game.'