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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 19, 2006

Allardyce vows to fight TV bungs claims

Bolton manager Sam Allardyce tonight insisted he will 'fight' allegations by the BBC's Panorama programme that he has received illegal payments.

'Undercover: Football's Dirty Secrets' claimed that Allardyce and his son Craig, a football agent, were given bungs to facilitate player transfers.

Speaking after Bolton's win at Walsall, Allardyce said: 'I'm aware of the situation. Because I haven't seen anything of the programme I need to have a look at that and to take a view of that before I make any comment whatsoever.

'But if there are things saying wrong about Sam Allardyce believe you me, I will be fighting them.'

The programme also made a number of other allegations of wrongdoing by several other figures in the game. All those named in the programme have issued statements to the BBC denying they have done anything wrong.

The Football Association have asked for any evidence uncovered by Panorama and will investigate 'any possible breach of the rules'.

The programme, which used an undercover reporter posing as an agent, also alleged that:

• Three agents named in the programme admitted giving bungs.

• Newcastle first-team coach Kevin Bond admitted he would consider discussing receiving payments from agents.

• Frank Arnesen, Chelsea's director of youth football, offered Middlesbrough's 15-year-old England youth star Nathan Porritt £150,000 over three years to move clubs.

•  Liverpool also tried to tempt Porritt from Middlesbrough.

•  Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp was involved in 'tapping up' a player.

Panorama used undercover reporter Knut auf dem Berge, a UEFA-licensed coach who has worked in England for the last eight years, to gather evidence for the programme.

A BBC Panorama press release says: 'In undercover filming three different agents name Sam Allardyce, a recent candidate for the England manager's job, as a corrupt manager. Two of them say that they have made illegal payments to Sam Allardyce personally.

'Peter Harrison, an agent known to be close to Allardyce, is secretly filmed saying that he bribes Sam by offering to pay his son Craig: He says: 'If I say `Listen Sam, I'll give Craig some money'... he'll say `Yeah, okay, we'll do a deal.'

'Panorama has also uncovered that three different Bolton transfer signings (of defender Tal Ben Haim, Japanese star Hidi Nakata, and goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi) involved secret payments from agents to Craig Allardyce. The programme understands that Craig Allardyce received around £50,000 for the deal involving Ben Haim. At the time Craig was contractually banned from doing any Bolton deals.

'In the case of two of these deals (Nakata and Ali Al-Habsi), the agent secretly paying Craig was Peter Harrison.

'Craig admitted to BBC reporter Alex Millar that his father Sam Allardyce did know about these payments, saying: `Yeah course he knew course he knew... I've never hidden anything.'

Panorama allegations against Arnesen, Liverpool and Redknapp appear to be less clear-cut. This is because the programme shows agent Peter Harrison making the first approach - about Porritt to Arnesen and Liverpool, and Blackburn skipper Andy Todd to Redknapp.

Three agents - Harrison, Teni Yerima and Charles Collymore - tell Panorama that football managers take bungs.

The BBC release said: 'Talking about the possibility of setting up a new agency, Peter Harrison says `You'll have to pay the managers to get them on side.'. He says: 'I think you've got to be giving them at least £100,000 a year and then you'll make £500,000 a year.

'Harrison makes a series of admissions, including admitting how he had arranged to pay a major club's chief scout a £30,000 bung in January this year.'

Panorama also claims Bolton chairman Phil Gartside misled his own club's fans by complaining in the press in August 2005 about an 'illegal approach' to then captain Jay-Jay Okocha. 'In fact eight days earlier, Gartside had been in a room with the agent (Teni Yerima) that he was complaining about, negotiating to sell Okocha,' says Panorama.

All the figures named by the programme have issued denials to the BBC. These included:

•  Sam Allardyce told the BBC that he has never taken, asked for or received a bung and would not condone any breaches of the FA rules - whatever personal affection he has for his son.

• Craig Allardyce said he was exaggerating his own importance to the undercover reporter in order to attract opportunities. He denied any wrongdoing in his Bolton deals or in his relationship with the club. Allardyce recently quit as a football agent.

•  Peter Harrison denied he is a corrupt agent and says that everything he said to Knut was merely pub gossip and banter.

• Teni Yerima told the BBC that he made everything up as part of his plan to find out who Knut was working for.

• Charles Collymore told Panorama he had made up what he said to find out Knut's real agenda.

• Kevin Bond told the BBC he was not interested in receiving bungs. He also says no-one he has ever worked with has taken a bung.

• Harry Redknapp denied his conversation with Harrison regarding Todd amounted to `tapping up'.

• Both Chelsea and Liverpool denied the meetings filmed by the BBC broke any industry rules.

• Phil Gartside told the BBC he had not wanted to sell Okocha but could not ignore a generous offer for his player.

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