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Redknapp slams ''farcical'' tax probe

Harry Redknapp has told ESPN Soccernet that he will continue to focus on getting Tottenham into the Champions League, in the face of a ''farcical'' tax probe.

• Milan Mandaric charged

Redknapp refuses to be deflected by tax charges and professed his innocence, insisting it was a minor tax matter that he will not allow to disrupt his outstanding season so far with Spurs, which has seen the club fighting for a top four place.

Redknapp said: "This is not a football related matter so I have no intention of letting it distract me at all from what I am doing and intend to do at the club."

The Tottenham boss is furious that the tax issue has blighted him for so long. He added: "This all dates back to 2002, so yes you're right it has been going on far too long. It is farcical. I have issued a statement. I know I have done nothing wrong, I've been saying it for a long time, but the matter is in the hands of solicitors so I have nothing more to say about this."

Redknapp has been accused of tax evasion and the 62-year-old voluntarily attended Bishopsgate police station in the capital to be charged by police, his solicitor said. The move comes at the end of an exhaustive 26-month police and tax inquiry into alleged corruption in English football.

A statement from the Crown Prosecution Service read: ''Henry (Harry) Redknapp, the former football manager of Portsmouth City Football Club, has today been charged with two counts of cheating the public revenue.

''The CPS Revenue and Customs Division decided there was sufficient evidence and it was in the public interest to charge Mr Redknapp. He is jointly charged with Milan Mandaric, the former chairman of Portsmouth City Football Club, following an investigation by the City of London Police and HM Revenue & Customs.''

''The charges concern two payments, totalling USD$295,000, from Mr Mandaric to Mr Redknapp via a bank account in Monaco, evading the tax and national insurance contributions due between 1 April 2002 and 28 November 2007. The payments were in relation to Mr Redknapp's employment. He will appear at the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court on 11 February.''

Ian Burton, Redknapp's solicitor, said: ''Harry has co-operated fully with investigators during the course of this inquiry and is confident of a successful outcome to these court proceedings.''