The Football Association have not re-examined the findings of a multi-million pound investigation which raised questions about Sam Allardyce, despite sacking him for telling undercover journalists he could get around the governing body’s rules.
The Stevens Report recommended in June 2007 that the FA should “continue with their investigation” into four transfers of players to Bolton when Allardyce was manager was there, in each of which the manager’s son Craig appeared to be involved. But it has always been a source of frustration to the Premier League – which spent a seven-figure sum to commission the former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lords Stevens to investigate football transfers – that neither these four cases, nor others involving different clubs - were submitted to examination by Fifa or the FA.
As the governing body waits for police to release transcripts of a Daily Telegraph sting in which Allardyce boasted that he thought there was a way around third party ownership rules, the vastly more forensic work undertaken by Stevens appears to be considered too far in the past to warrant further consideration now.
Sources close to Lord Stevens have told The Independent that it was a matter for the football authorities if they chose to make no further inquiries regarding “concerns” his team raised over the transfer of four players to Allardyce’s Bolton - Ali Al-Habsi, signed from Lyn Oslo, Tal Ben Haim from Maccabi Tel Aviv, Blessing Kaku from Israeli club FC Ashdod and Julio Correia from Valladolid. The sources said Lord Stevens and his Quest private investigation company had undertaken the probe as a commercial project and it was up to football and police what they did with the findings. It was not for them to be "frustrated" by what a client did with the product of work by Lord Stevens and his organisation, Quest.
Stevens said his team were “concerned at the conflict of interest that it believes existed between Craig Allardyce, his father Sam Allardyce (the then manager at Bolton Wanderers) and the Club itself.”
The Stevens Report did demonstrate that football was not awash with a ‘bung’ culture in the last decade and it did help trigger the City of London case against Harry Redknapp. Though Redknapp was acquitted of tax evasion at Southwark Crown Court in 2012, the Premier League felt that the case had highlighted the willingness of football to investigate its own.
Stevens’ report saw a team of forensic accountants engaged to examine 362 transfers which took place between January 1, 2004 and January 31, 2006. His report, published in June 2007, ended with a conclusion that there were 17 potentially dubious transfers that he had been unable to sign off as legitimate in his final report, because there were outstanding questions against them.
It took the FA 17 months to ask Fifa to look at cases raised by Stevens. It was more than two years after Stevens reported that the world governing body said it could not investigate, because the FA had made its request too late.
Asked two weeks ago why the FA had appointed Alladyce when four of the 17 “suspicious” cases flagged up by Stevens related to him, FA chief executive Martin Glenn said: We were obviously aware of it because of the Stevens Inquiry - so that was known. Nothing had happened since apart from Sam being and continued to be seen as a strong player in the game, nothing else had come to our attention. We were aware of it but that was some time ago.”Reuse content