FA lets Grobbelaar play on

`Thorough investigation' promised over claims that goalkeeper was paid pounds 40,000 to fix game

The Southampton goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar was last night cleared to continue playing while the Football Association carries out a ``thorough and urgent'' investigation into allegations that he received a payment of pounds 40,000 to fix the result of a game. If the claims - which Grobbelaar strenuously denies - are proven, he could be banned from football for life and face criminal charges.

The accusations were made in yesterday's Sun newspaper after reporters had confronted Grobbelaar at Gatwick Airport as he was about to fly to Harare, where he is due to play for his home country, Zimbabwe. The claims about one of football's most respected and best-loved characters have rocked the sport. If proven, it could be the worst betting and bribery scandal for 30 years.

The FA have no plans to prevent the 37-year-old ``Clown Prince'' of goalkeepers from appearing in Sunday's international against Zaire. Southampton do not have a game for nine days and by then the game's ruling body expects the position to be ``very much clearer''. The FA has promised to ``ruthlessly root out'' any form of corruption, and said that Southampton and Liverpool - for whom Grobbelaar was playing last season when it was alleged that he agreed to throw a match against Newcastle - the Premier League and the Professional Footballers' Association have all pledged full co-operation. The Sun has agreed to hand over information on which the claims are based.

Graham Kelly, the FA's chief executive, said yesterday: ``There is no suggestion that today's allegations are anything but an isolated case. We are determined to keep football above the suspicion of corruption in any form.''

Kelly said he had not yet spoken to Grobbelaar. Asked if there was any problem with him playing on, Kelly said: ``Southampton are standing by the player and he has reportedly issued a denial, so until we have had a look at it in more detail I think it would be wrong to prejudge the issue.'' He said it was not necessary for the FA to call in the police because ``if they need to they will get involved irrespective of my say-so. Football isn't above the law.''

After learning of the reporters' claims, Grobbelaar left Gatwick without boarding his flight, and is understood to have gone immediately into discussions with his lawyers. His whereabouts yesterday were unknown. Grobbelaar refused to make any comment, but he later rebutted all accusations in a telephone conversation with Lawrie McMenemy, the director of football at Southampton.

The Sun claimed to have secretly filmed Grobbelaar admitting that he threw the game at Newcastle in November last year. His pounds 40,000 is said to have come from a betting syndicate in the Far East, which are alleged to have netted more than pounds 3m in a wager on the score. Newcastle beat Liverpool 3-0.

Grobbelaar is also alleged to have revealed other games in which he could have earned large sums. He said he was promised pounds 50,000 if he ensured Southampton lost by one goal against Manchester City last weekend. The game finished 3-3. There was big money at stake if Southampton had lost by a single goal to Coventry in September. ``Two minutes into the game I pushed the ball into the back of the net,'' he is quoted as saying. Southampton won 3-1.

A report in today's Sun also quotes him on Liverpool's game with Manchester United last January in which it is claimed he made two ``blinding'' but unintentional saves. ``Do you know how much money I lost? A hundred and twenty five thousand pounds in cash.'' The newspaper says Grobbelaar was lured into his alleged disclosures by a former friend and business partner, Chris Vincent, who allegedly persuaded him to accept a payment of pounds 2,000, a retainer to be paid every two weeks with a view to his throwing a match later in the season. It is claimed the game he had chosen was Southampton's visit to Anfield next March. The Sun supplied television news bulletins with video film of him apparently receiving pounds 2,000. According to the Sun, Grobbelaar admitted receiving the pounds 2,000, but denied ever having tried to fix a game. ``I've never attempted to throw a game in my life,'' he said.

Leading article, page 17

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Programme Director - Conduct Risk - London

£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, SC Clear

£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn