sports gazette

FA come under fire for Sam Allardyce fiasco

Published: 19 Oct 2016

Sports Gazette reports as FA Chairman Greg Clarke answered questions from a parliamentary committee over the governance of football.

The Football Association have come under fire from a parliamentary committee for the way they dealt with Sam Allardyce following the Daily Telegraph’s investigation.

Chairman Greg Clarke was being questioned by the culture, media and sport select committee over the governance of football which included Allardyce’s payoff after just one game in charge.

When questioned on how he could justify the payoff amount, Clarke said: “I justify it by obeying the law of the land and taking the advice of an esteemed external QC.

“I think any right-thinking person would rather spend the money on facilities for people who play and watch the game. The question is, we will always obey the law. We took advice on the law, we took external advice from a QC and we obeyed it. And we will always obey it.”

Jason McCartney, MP for Colne Valley, argued the payoff – believed to be in the region of £1m – could have been used for the much-needed improvement of grassroots football.

He said: “I’ve got local football clubs like Marsden FC who were broken into, who are struggling to find the money to pay for nets to have a game, so grassroots football.

“How can you justify getting rid of an England manager who was in the wrong and paying him off, I imagine £1,000s, £10,000s, £100,000s when there are grass roots clubs that are struggling to get teams out onto the pitch?”

"How can you justify getting rid of an England manager who was in the wrong and paying him off, I imagine £1,000s, £10,000s, £100,000s when there are grass roots clubs that are struggling to get teams out onto the pitch?

The FA’s hiring of Allardyce without due diligence into his past was also scrutinised by the committee and, though Clarke repeatedly reminded those present he was not chairman at the time, he had been told enquiries were made.

Clarke said: “My understanding from informal conversation with some board members was that significant enquiries were made of the clubs in the Premier League that Sam Allardyce had been manager of and also his chairman or board member of the LMA and enquiries were made there as well.

“No significant issues emerged as of those enquiries but I can’t assure you that a diligence was applied to the Stevens report because I wasn’t there but we can come back to you on that.”

There was also a look to the future on the England job with hints being dropped by members on the suitability of Eddie Howe to the role.

However, one member failed to see good in Clarke’s preference of an English manager.

Andrew Bingham, MP for High Peak said: “You can use the law when it suits you but you can’t say that.”

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