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By ESPN Staff

I expected to be charged - Former Luton chief

Former Luton chairman Bill Tomlins has admitted breaking Football Association rules after being hit with 15 disciplinary charges relating to irregular payments, it was reported on Friday.

He said that he regrets his part in a scandal that saw the Hatters hit with more than 50 charges in total - but claims it was the only way he could sign players.

'I knowingly broke league regulations and I expected the charges but we had to break the rules to sign the players,' he said.

'I wouldn't have got them otherwise.

'No-one benefited from the breaches except perhaps the team itself. But the manager (Mike Newell) wanted the players and that was the only way I could sign them.

'I relied on the manager's judgment and he was often proved to be correct in choosing the right players - their subsequent transfer values confirmed that.

'It's the sort of thing that's gone on for years at a lot of clubs and that's why the rules were tightened.'

The FA acted on allegations of systematic back-door payments totalling £160,000 made to agents by Luton.

The club, Tomlins and former finance director Derek Peter have all been charged, as have two current directors and six licensed football agents.

It follows a 20-month probe by FA investigators that started in January 2006 after the then Luton manager Newell claimed irregular payments were rife in the game.

Tomlins added: 'I wish I could have been stronger. Sometimes you make decisions that over a period of time prove incorrect.'

Luton sacked Newell in March, a day after he handed a three-page letter to the board over payments to agents.

The FA launched their probe a month later when Tomlins admitted paying agents illegally through the club's holding company Jayten Stadium Limited.