Football: `Public's expectation will be met'

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The Independent Online
Any charges against people or clubs named in the Premier League's "bungs" inquiry as breaking football's rules are likely to be made "within weeks", according to the Football Association's director of public affairs David Davies.

"The public have the right to expect integrity, honesty and accountability in the way the national sport operates," said Davies yesterday. "The expectation must be met. It will be. The FA will act within weeks, and will report by early October."

Graham Kelly, the FA's chief executive, is at present studying the Premier League's report - delivered to him last Monday and published yesterday - which concludes that a pounds 50,000 "bung" was paid in the transfer of Teddy Sheringham from Nottingham Forest to Tottenham in August 1992. Kelly will consult with lawyers this week before deciding whether any should be charged.

The report concludes that Terry Venables, though not for personal gain, did authorise a cash payment which Sheringham's agent Frank McLintock passed on to Ronnie Fenton, Brian Clough's assistant at Forest. Venables, the former England manager, said yesterday that he was "delighted that my name has been cleared after all this time".

Fenton, who is also said to have received pounds 45,000 in the transfer of Alf-Inge Haaland from Bryne, is now working in Malta while Brian Clough has retired but another named in the report as having taken kick-backs, the former Arsenal chief scout Steve Burtenshaw, can be disciplined as he remains in the English game, with Queen's Park Rangers. Forest, whose present secretary Paul White administered the transfers, and Spurs could also be subject collectively to action.

As for agents named in the report as having broken FA rules, such as Eric Hall, the inquiry team also suggests they can be prosecuted under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906. The FA have already asked Sir John Smith, the former Metropolitan Police deputy commissioner, to widen his investigation into gambling in the game.

"We must make sure these things can't happen in this generation," added David Davies. "Sir John will be talking to the Securities and Investments Board as well as other independent monitoring organisations."

The FA might also consider whether they can adopt statutory powers to force material witnesses to appear. George Graham, banned for a year after an interim report, chose not to substantiate general allegations, for example.

"He said he would but he has not been forthcoming with evidence," said a member of the inquiry team, Rick Parry, yesterday. The team was also "unhappy" that the Labour MP Kate Hoey would not repeat claims she made in Parliament.