Holloway backs Newell over 'bungs'

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The Independent Online

Football Association investigators are to pursue discussions with the Queen's Park Rangers manager, Ian Holloway, after he backed up Mike Newell's allegations of a widespread "bung culture" in the game.

The FA has contacted Holloway after he claimed that he was offered a bribe to push through a player's transfer.

Holloway said: "I thought I was getting a certain player on a free transfer. His agent then came back to me and said 'my fee is this amount and you will get that from it'.

"I went back to the board and said 'You must be joking'. I earn my money through my contract, not any other way. I've got nothing to hide.

"There are agents out there with whacking great wheelbarrows who say, 'fill that up with money'."

It comes in the week that the Luton manager, Newell, met FA officials to give evidence about his claims that he had been offered cash by agents and club officials as an incentive to buy and sell players.

An FA spokesman said: "The Football Association has this morning contacted [Holloway] following allegations that he was offered an illegal payment by an agent. The FA will hold further discussions with him and will thoroughly investigate any evidence of breaches of FA regulations."

As the transfer was an international one, it will almost certainly fall under Fifa's jurisdiction. The spokesman added: "If necessary we will pass on any information to Fifa and other national associations."

The former Rangers chairman Nick Blackburn has backed up Holloway's claims. Blackburn, who was in control of QPR at the time, said such incidents were not isolated. He said: "Ian called me and said the agent of the player we were interested in wanted £50,000 - and Olly [Holloway] was going to get £30,000 of it.

"I heard stories all the time when I was chairman. It's disappointing that the game has to endure this."

Blackburn added: "Ian told me because he is an honest guy, but how many more of these deals happen behind the scenes when people are not so honest? It is an appalling state of affairs and it leaves me sickened.

"I applaud Mike Newell for coming forward - and yet what happened? People turned on him. We need to try to clear up the game."

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