Newspaper investigation alleges corruption in English Championship

Personnel from three clubs in England's second-tier Championship have been linked with corruption allegations in an undercover newspaper investigation.

The Daily Telegraph reported on Thursday that Queens Park Rangers manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink negotiated a fee to speak to investors of a fake Far East firm and Barnsley assistant manager Tommy Wright accepted payment to help persuade the club to sign players.

Additionally, Leeds United Massimo Cellino spoke of ways to get around transfer rules, the newspaper said.

The allegations come two days after Sam Allardyce left his job as England manager after a Telegraph sting in which he was filmed speaking about ways to circumvent transfer rules.

QPR and Barnsley both said in statements they were investigating the allegations, and Leeds labelled the report a "non story" in a statement of their own.

Hasselbaink denied the allegations, while Wright has been suspended by Barnsley.

The Telegraph's probe involved reporters posing as representatives of a Far East company in meetings, which were secretly filmed, with the three men.

In video released Wednesday night on the newspaper's website, Hasselbaink is alleged to have negotiated a 55,000 pounds (71,000 dollars) fee to fly to Far East to speak to investors.

He also appeared to be open to signing players owned by the firm despite the possibility of a conflict of interest, the Telegraph said.

“They offered me a fee to make a speech in Singapore,” Hasselbaink said in a statement. “I do not see anything unusual in being offered to be paid to make a speech.

“I did not make any promises in return.”

Wright allegedly accepted 5,000 pounds to help an agent sign up Barnsley players and to recommend that the club sign other players represented by the consortium.

Cellino is said to have spoken about ways his club could get around Football Association rules on third-party ownership of players. 

The FA, Premier League and Football League have vowed to investigate all of the newspaper's allegations.

"English football takes the governance of the game extremely seriously with integrity being of paramount importance,” the bodies said in a joint statement released late Wednesday.

“Any substantive allegations will be investigated with the full force of the rules at our disposal, which are wide-ranging and well-developed. 

“In addition, should we find any evidence of criminality we would inform and seek the support of the appropriate statutory authorities.”

Last update: Thu, 29/09/2016 - 12:25
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