Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

FA Say There's No Whitewash

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

FA Say There's No Whitewash

Article excerpt

Byline: By Martyn Ziegler

The Premier League were last night embroiled in claims they had pressured Lord Stevens into watering down his recommendations from his inquiry into illegal payments.

A copy of a communiqu sent to all Premiership club chairmen yesterday suggests that the league had tried to persuade Stevens to take on board the clubs' concerns.

The Premier League insist the Stevens' report has not been "shaped in any way" by them but it is understood they did pass on 'advice' after the clubs had been shown the former Metropolitan Police commissioner's observations.

The memo from Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore read: "In respect of the [Stevens] recommendations we did feedback in the strongest terms the sentiments expressed by clubs in our meeting on November 9.

"It would appear that these have been taken on board ... save for the concern regarding the agents of managers not being allowed to act for players at the same club. Lord Stevens was 'not for turning' on this and we will have to consider it in due course."

At the launch of Stevens' findings yesterday, Scudamore was asked that a cynic might suggest the league and the FA had tried to have the report watered down.

Scudamore replied: "Certainly the FA and ourselves have had no discussions about the wording of this report. It's Lord Stevens' report." Stevens added: "I can vouch for that."

A league spokesman reacted to the leaked memo by insisting: "It is an independent report that has not been shaped in any way or any form by the Premier League."

A senior source has confirmed, however, that the clubs did see Stevens' observations ( but not his recommendations ( last month and that as a result advice was given to him about what was technically possible.

The source said: "Feedback was given to what was possible for the clubs to do."

Premier League clubs have been declared bung-free ( at least for the time being in the report.

Lord Stevens announced the findings of his Quest team's nine-month inquiry into alleged illegal payments by revealing that 17 transfers ( out of 362 ( still require further investigation because eight agents have failed to co-operate. …

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