Last year, FIFA outlawed the practice of third-party ownership of players, which is essentially a way for businesses to hold a stake in a soccer player and collect a cut of their transfer fees. It comes with a minefield of conflicts of interests and can help explain why certain elite players get squirreled away to soccer’s fringes for small fortunes.
Secret hidden camera footage from the Telegraph reportedly shows England manager Sam Allardyce telling a group of “businessmen” (who were planted by the paper) how to skirt the England FA’s rules regarding third-party ownership, as well as setting up a £400,000 deal with them. Shortly after accepting the job to coach England, Allardyce flew to Singapore and Hong Kong and told the reporters how to get around the FA’s “ridiculous” transfer regulations:
Over the course of two meetings, lasting four hours in total, Allardyce told the fictitious businessmen that it was “not a problem” to bypass the rules introduced by his employers in 2008.
He said he knew of certain agents who were “doing it all the time” and added: “You can still get around it. I mean obviously the big money’s here.”
It seems that Enner Valencia’s transfer to West Ham had a third party involved.
Allardyce told undercover reporters that the banned practice was still possible in “all of South America, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, all of Africa” and that the Ecuadorean player Enner Valencia had been under a third party ownership agreement when he signed him for £12 million for West Ham from a Mexican club in 2014.
Perhaps more interestingly, they also got Big Sam on camera talking wild shit about a slew of England soccer-adjacent figures, such as Roy Hodgson:
On why Roy Hodgson, former England manager, would not be a good public speaker:
“He’d send them all to sleep, Roy. Woy. He hasn’t got the personality for it.”
And a former England player who had a gambling problem:
On the gambling habits of current or former senior England players:
“[A club owner] bailed [a player] out twice. That’s players for you, dealing with the boredom, see. It were worse in our time … we gambled more in our time than they do now. We played cards, played cards all the way back [from away matches] … you’d do your wages in.”
And best of all, Prince Harry
On Prince Harry:
“Harry’s a naughty boy. He’s a very naughty boy, very naughty. He shows his bottom and all sorts.”
The Telegraph says that they have plenty more to expose from their lengthy investigation, including players betting on games and all manner of administrative corruption. They plan to roll out further reports throughout the week.