Football: Venables calls for privacy in inquest

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The Independent Online
TERRY VENABLES, the former Tottenham Hotspur chief executive, last night appealed for the Premier League to be left to conduct its Spurs inquiry in private.

Material which points to irregular payments to players during Venables's reign as manager at White Hart Lane has been made public - and on Monday Granada's World in Action television programme promises another dose of allegations. Alan Sugar, the club chairman, has apparently had to write off nearly pounds 400,000 of interest-free loans to players that have never been repaid. The money relates to transactions before he joined Spurs and Sugar now hopes the authorities will allow his club the benefit of a fresh start.

Sugar has admitted 'some things were done wrongly in the past' and provided the inquiry team with evidence.

Venables issued a statement saying: 'I would like to reaffirm that it was I who originally called for the Premier League inquiry and that I am complying fully with the appropriate committee in providing evidence to them.

'I believe that this is the only correct forum to arbitrate on such matters and this should not be aired in public through the media.'

A Tottenham spokesman said: 'Terry Venables may have been the first to contact the FA. It was certainly not to inform them about the unauthorised loans at Spurs - that was left to Alan Sugar to do.'

Barry Fry, the Southend manager, plans further talks with his chairman, Vic Jobson, today about the lure of a Birmingham job. Birmingham are believed to be offering a pounds 100,000-a-year basic salary plus bonuses.