Football: Bungs inquiry ends in a sham

TWO MONTHS short of five years after the instigation of the bungs inquiry, during which evidence from 66 people was taken covering over 10,000 pages and at a cost of over pounds 1m, the Football Association yesterday finally delivered its eagerly awaited verdicts on those charged with misconduct - or rather it did not.

With the alacrity and resolution that one has come to expect of English football's governing body, it was decided to defer the sentence on the former Arsenal chief scout Steve Burtenshaw, who pleaded guilty to accepting an unauthorised payment, until "probably" today, while the verdict on Ronnie Fenton has been adjourned while investigations concerning his former club, Nottingham Forest, continue during "the next few months".

Burtenshaw apologised to yesterday's three-man disciplinary hearing after admitting that he received an illegal payment of pounds 35,000 from the Norwegian agent, Rune Hauge, following the transfer in September 1992 of John Jensen from Brondby to Arsenal. Burtenshaw, now chief scout at Queen's Park Rangers, was charged after the Inland Revenue was alerted that a large sum of money had been deposited in an off shore account.

"The unauthorised payment is outside FA rules," the FA spokesman, Steve Double, said. "It was accepted by the FA commission that the payment was not solicited and counsel representing him said that other than this incident he had an unblemished 50-year record in football. He added he was guilty of misjudgement for which he was deeply sorry."

In the case of Fenton, the allegations concern a pounds 45,000 payment from Hauge and a missing sum of pounds 46,000 from the transfer of Neil Lyne and Tony Loughran from non-League Leicester United to Forest.

Fenton, who until recently was coaching in Malta, failed to attend the hearing and claimed he was outside FA jurisdiction because he had retired from the game. No mention was made of monies being refunded.

So peters out one of the great scandals of the modern game, which most definitely peaked with the sacking and one-year suspension of George Graham, the former League championship-winning manager of Arsenal - and he was back at work more than two years ago. Since when most people have either forgotten that there ever was a bungs inquiry or long since given up caring.

The Labour MP Kate Hoey, whose speech in the House of Commons in January 1995 did much to highlight the question of corruption in football, wished to have nothing to do with the matter yesterday.

"I haven't been involved in it for a year so I'd rather not comment. It's not my area - ask the Minister of Sport," she said.

Having withdrawn the charges against Brian Clough on the grounds of ill health and with the inquiry team unable to establish that there was any case to answer against Terry Venables, Graeme Souness and Dave Bassett, the FA was left with very much Second Division figures in Burtenshaw and Fenton while the charge against Premier League Nottingham Forest involves an administration which is no longer in place at the club.

The inquiry team had claimed they could find no evidence of deep-rooted corruption in the game.

"No matter which way you look at it, the report highlighted that there were very few irregularities," John Barnwell, the chief executive of the League Managers' Association, said yesterday.

"With the involvement in football of plcs has come better business practise, which has tightened whatever loopholes were possibly there."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk