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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 January 2006, 11:41 GMT
FA to meet Newell over bung claim
Mike Newell
Luton boss Mike Newell will meet with the Football Association next week to discuss his shock allegations that transfer bungs are rife in football.

Newell claims that "a lot of people involved with the agents and doing the deals are taking back-handers" and has made it clear he will name offenders.

FA chief executive Brian Barwick said: "We have contacted Mike and will meet with him early next week.

"These are serious claims. If he has evidence, we will investigate fully."

Football League chairman Lord Mawhinney said he would be happy to meet with Newell in private first if that was what the Luton manager wanted.

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore also urged Newell to name those involved.

And the former Blackburn and Everton striker vowed: "I will do that, absolutely no problem. I have no fear.

It's an absolute scandal that there is no proper financial regulation system within football
Graham Kelly
Former FA chief

"I have no problem substantiating what I have said - and I have no problem digging people out.

"I can back up everything I have said, and I can sleep well at night."

When asked if he had been offered money when conducting transfer negotiations, Newell responded: "Of course I have. I wouldn't even entertain the idea - never."

And he blamed the FA for not cracking down on rogue agents.

"The FA must play a much bigger role than they are doing - agents are the scourge of the game," he said.

Newell's claims have sent shockwaves reverberating around the world of football.

One agent, Colin Gordon, said: "If he can name names maybe this is what the game needs."

But several other leading agents have angrily refuted Newell's allegations.

Stella Group's Jonathan Barnett, Jerome Anderson of the SEM Group, First Artists' John Smith and the Formation Group met on Thursday to discuss Newell's allegations.

As far as we are aware his assertions are without foundation
Football Agents Association

And under the banner of the Football Agents Association, which aims to act as a self-regulatory organisation in full co-operation with the game's governing bodies, they issued a statement condemning him.

"So far as we are aware Mr Newell has not named the individuals to whom these allegations are intended to refer," it read.

"But his comments as they stand cast aspersions over the whole role of agents and indeed licensed agents generally, and are by implication defamatory.

"As far as we are aware his assertions are without foundation and we welcome an investigation by the FA with which we would be happy to cooperate."

In 1995, George Graham was sacked as Arsenal manager and banned from football for a year after allegations he accepted an illegal payment as part of a transfer deal.

The FA must take responsibility, provided Mike Newell can properly substantiate the claims
606 user

But Newell believes it is far from an isolated incident.

"If George Graham is the only one guilty of taking a bung in the last 10 years, I would be absolutely amazed," he added.

"If the governing bodies don't eradicate some of the things that are happening, it will kill the game.

"Hopefully the Football League and the Premier League will come to their senses and bring in stricter laws."

Newell is also concerned that resources are being drained from football and suggests there is only one winner as things currently stand.

"I've seen the money agents make at Championship level and I can only imagine what they make at the top level," he said.

Millions of pounds have gone out of the game that will not be seen again
Mike Newell

"So many players have come and gone who have been absolutely no good to the game or the clubs who bought them.

"But the agents will have made money once again and the game in this country will have suffered.

"Millions of pounds have gone out of the game that will not be seen again."

During the 2004-05 season, Championship clubs spent nearly 7m on agents' fees, prompting Lord Mawhinney to call for tighter regulations.


WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Luton boss Mike Newell


Interview: Premier League chief exec Richard Scudamore



SEE ALSO
Transfer corruption 'rife'
30 Jan 04 |  Football


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