MPs hit out at FA over ‘astonishing’ appointment of Sam Allardyce
Tory MP Damian Collins also aired allegation that Cardiff manager Neil Warnock is 'crooked'
MPs have grilled the Football Association over their appointment of Sam Allardyce as England manager.
Allardyce left his post after just 67 days and one match in charge when the Daily Telegraph published footage of him apparently advising an undercover journalist on how to bypass transfer rules.
As FA chairman Greg Clarke appeared before the Culture, Media and Sport Committee to discuss the appointment, acting chairman Damian Collins told him that “lots of people saw this coming” and expressed astonishment that the FA had not.
Allardyce was also at the centre of a 2006 Panorama programme which featured two agents claiming he had accepted bungs for signing players. The then-Bolton manager strongly denied the allegations and a subsequent independent inquiry by Lord Stevens found no evidence of improper payments.
Conservative MP Collins told the FA boss: “The FA appointed a manager who was a central figure in the biggest ever investigation initiated by football into improper payments and bungs.
“We know that the FA didn’t speak to Panorama, who made the programme that led to that investigation; I don’t believe that the FA spoke to QUEST or Lord Stevens around the appointment and you certainly don’t know whether they did; and you’ve not been able to ascertain whether it was even discussed with him before the appointment was made.
“I think many people would find that astonishing. I notice that David Gill [FA board member] said in an interview on Friday that no one saw this coming. I think lots of people saw this coming; I think it’s only the FA that didn’t and that’s what people find astonishing about this.”
Clarke said Sam Allardyce had “let us down badly” when asked by MPs about the decision to remove the former England manager from his post.
Also at the select committee hearing on football governance, was asked to explain why allegations made against Neil Warnock were not followed up.
Allegations that Warnock was "crooked" and was "ruining the game" were made by Crystal Palace midfielder Jason Puncheon in 2014 on Twitter and quickly deleted.
They were repeated in Westminster today by Collins. Using parliamentary privilege, he said:
The tweets have been deleted but they are available online and I'll read out the relevant bit.
"He said, 'What I won't accept is an opinion from a man who's crooked and ruining the game. The man who signs players, gives them extra wages and appearance bonuses to make sure they pay him to get into the team or on the bench.’”
Warnock, who was recently made Cardiff manager, released a statement in response, denying the allegations and saying that the FA did in fact look into the matter.
He said: "These allegations are completely and utterly false. The FA Commission considered all of the evidence in detail in 2014 and it found that the allegations which were published about me were unfounded. Any suggestion that the FA failed to investigate this matter is simply untrue.
"In fact, Mr Puncheon apologised to me and removed the allegations from his Twitter account. The FA fined him £15,000 and he was warned as to his future conduct.
"I am disappointed that these allegations have been repeated after Mr Puncheon's apology and after the FA investigated fully. If anyone had asked me the truth before publication, I would have pointed them to the FA website, where the facts are all easily accessible."
Warnock, 67, has managed 17 different clubs at Premier League and Football League level during a 36-year career in management. In 1995, when he was manager of Huddersfield Town, he was filmed giving his team a memorable and expletive-laden half time rollocking.
Picture by: Martin Rickett/PA Wire/Press Association Images
Parliament’s in-house band MP4 might have some competition on their hands after a group of Tory MPs revealed they are starting their own group – under the working name “Alternative Arrangements...