Eriksson allegedly claims bungs rife in Premiership

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The Independent Online

Sven Goran Eriksson, the England coach, could face more accusations of naivety and indiscretion after he allegedly claimed that bungs are rife in Premiership transfers.

In the latest instalment of revelations in a Sunday newspaper today, the Swede is reported to have said that managers in the top flight take cuts from transfer deals.

He apparently said during a conversation in Dubai with a News of the World reporter who was posing as a sheikh that one particular manager is the worst for taking backhanders. His agent, Athole Still, also suggested the manager of a famous club was involved in a transfer "scam" and that a leading club paid over the odds in "illegal deals".

Eriksson also apparently suggested that if he managed a Premiership club, he would want to have nothing to do with the financial side of transfers.

Other revelations indicate Eriksson's opinion of two of the leading managers, Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho. He is reported as saying that he thought Ferguson should have left Manchester United after his greatest feat. "After winning the treble (in 1999), he should have said thank you, goodbye."

Of Chelsea's Mourinho he reportedly said: "A manager is important but it doesn't matter who the manager is, put Mourinho in Aston Villa, he will do maybe a little better but he will not be among the four best (teams)."

Commenting on last week's initial revelations, David Dein, the Arsenal vice-chairman and a member of the FA's International Committee, said of Eriksson: "Was he indiscreet? Was he naïve? I think he would probably admit he was both. It will be up to the FA Board and the International Committee to decide the future of Sven.

"I'm not here to defend Sven. If he were to be given the chance to do things differently in life then I'm sure he would. He will be judged by his ability as England coach and if it is decided his other activities are not conducive or harming the job then a decision will be taken."

Eriksson may have gone on the offensive, through his lawyers, who are pursuing legal action against the News of the World, claiming "breach of confidence" and suggesting that it was all "a highly sophisticated deception by the newspaper", but that is unlikely to deter them.

Last night Still rejected reports that the legal action could disrupt England's World Cup plans. "It will not impact on his World Cup commitments," he said. "That's the first question Sven asked our legal team. He's given a witness statement. But that's it. There's no chance it will go to court until well after the World Cup, probably next year."

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