Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

I Escaped the Soccer Bung Sting

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

I Escaped the Soccer Bung Sting

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul McMillan and Andy Jupp

A Tyneside soccer agent has told how he escaped the BBC Panorama sting.

Ian Elliott, who represents Sunderland's Grant Leadbitter and Middlesbrough's Stewart Downing, has revealed he too was linked to the TV probe.

Gateshead-based Mr Elliott says he met with the undercover phoney agent who has made corruption allegations against high profile football figures including Newcastle assistant manager Kevin Bond and Tyneside agent Peter Harrison.

Mr Elliott, who runs Elliott Sports Management, said: "I met Panorama's Knut auf dem Berge in the Jesmond Dene Hotel in Newcastle in April.

"I was with Peter Harrison, who is a friend but someone I have never done any business with. I was there because Peter said that a billionaire in America wanted to buy my company for pounds 1.2m. Who would not be interested in that?

"After about 20 minutes Knut went outside to make a phone call.

"I knew instinctively that there was something wrong. Knut was dressed like a man about to empty the bins, not like an emissary of a billionaire. He did not ask which players I represented, which clubs they were at, nor did he ask for a set of accounts.

"I left quickly and I later warned Peter of my suspicions. My comment was: 'This sounds far to be good to be true'. When something sounds too good to be true it generally is.

"Yet despite my lack of involvement and not appearing in the programme, my name appeared in connection with Panorama. They sent me a letter a few days ago saying that I 'knew of Dynamic Soccer's business plan'. I knew no such thing and told them so. On Tuesday lunchtime they then informed my lawyer that I would not be appearing in the programme 'for production reasons'.

Toon assistant manager Kevin Bond is to sue the BBC for libel following Panorama's allegations.

Bond, who is currently on leave from his position at United, strenuously denies any wrongdoing and insists his remarks have been presented in a "completely misleading manner".

The BBC however insist that Bond admitted he would consider receiving payment from a proposed agency during a secretly-recorded meeting with Tyneside football agent Peter Harrison. …

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