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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 21, 2006

BBC urged to supply all Panorama material

The Football Association and the Premier League will press the BBC to provide to their investigations with all the evidence collected by Panorama's year-long probe on Friday.

There is growing concern within the football bodies the corporation will be selective in the evidence it provides to back up their claims of illegal payments and illegal approaches by figures within the game.

It is understood that a senior figure in the FA will contact BBC top brass tomorrow to ask that every shred of evidence be provided.

The FA alone are to investigate the BBC's allegations relating to illegal payments, against Sam Allardyce, his son Craig, Newcastle assistant manager Kevin Bond and agents Charles Collymore and Peter Harrison.

The FA and Premier League will jointly investigate allegations of illegal approaches involving Chelsea, Liverpool, Newcastle and Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp.

It has emerged Redknapp launched a libel claim against the BBC before the programme was even screened.

A BBC internal memo, which has been seen by PA Sport, revealed Redknapp's solicitors sent the corporation a libel claim over reports that appeared in the press speculating about what the Panorama programme would allege.

Redknapp's solicitors claimed leaks to the press had originated from within the BBC, an allegation which the BBC has already denied.

Meanwhile, Redknapp has leapt to the defence of his good friend Allardyce, who has declared himself 'utterly innocent'.

Asked whether the allegations would affect Allardyce, Redknapp said: 'I hope not. He is a fantastic manager, a lad who is so clever at what he does in terms of preparing teams.

'He is excellent as a manager and a smashing fellow. I hope things get sorted out for him, but he's a very strong character. He understands the game and, hopefully, everything will be OK for him.'

Redknapp also appeared in the programme discussing Blackburn defender Andy Todd with Harrison.

The Pompey boss said today: 'I don't know why I was on it (the programme), do you? It is a farce.

'I really don't want to talk about this. I just want to talk about football - or the Ryder Cup, or something. But anyone who saw the programme will be wondering why I was on it. It was farcical.

'I don't think there is anything in it that I need to worry my lawyer about.'

Meanwhile, Fulham manager Chris Coleman has expressed his disgust at the Panorama programme - but admitted the practice of touting players to clubs in the 'murky world' of football was widespread.

Coleman suspects players from Fulham's academy have been touted around other clubs.

He said: 'I'm sure something similar would have happened to us because we've had players touted to us from other clubs and unfortunately it's the murky world of it.

'It's not just football, it happens in all businesses. The rules are bent by everybody, or at least most people.

'The fact is it's football and it's the number one sport. It happens in football, I'm not going to pretend it doesn't.

'I've been touted players from other clubs, it's as simple as that and I'm sure agents have touted some of my players, so what do you do?'

When asked if he had ever been offered a bung, Coleman replied: 'No, never. I can honestly say I've never been offered a bung.'

Charlton manager Iain Dowie believes anyone found guilty of taking a bung should feel the full force of the law - but hit out at the BBC Panorama investigation as 'all hearsay and title tattle'.

Dowie said: 'I do not think it is right if that goes on and am totally against it, but I do not see any evidence in the programme - it is all hearsay and title tattle.

'There were no bank statements, no proof - if there is, then that is different.

'If there is black-and-white evidence, with payments made, then you have got what is coming to you because it is job where you are well paid and it should not happen.

'With both Sam and Harry, there has been a hell of a lot of mud thrown and there seems to be very little substance to it.'

Dowie, 41, had spells in charge of Oldham and Crystal Palace before he took charge at The Valley this summer but insists he has no first-hand evidence of any improper conduct.

He said: 'You hear everyone say that it goes on, but I have never experienced it.'

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