Lord Stevens heads 'bungs' inquiry

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The Independent Football

Lord Stevens, formerly Britain's most senior policeman and now head of the investigation firm, Quest, was yesterday confirmed as chairman of the Premier League's independent inquiry into alleged transfer irregularities.

Lord Stevens has formed a 10-strong team of investigators and forensic accountants that will gather evidence surrounding all 320 Premier League transfers completed by 26 clubs since 1 January 2004. He hopes to report back to the Premier League in September and promised a "fearless, meticulous and detailed search for evidence".

Managers, players and club officials will be expected to give evidence to the team of investigators and Lord Stevens will take a dim view of those who refuse to be involved.

"I will personally be overviewing this inquiry and the team working under my instructions and we will make sure we reach the highest standards of investigation. It is our intention to interview all of those involved in the transfer process," Lord Stevens said. "In addition, a number will be subjected to a more detailed investigation.

"Everybody wants this to be sorted out in the interests of the game. Anyone who doesn't co-operate with the investigation is going against the common good. I am pretty sure everyone will co-operate. Because if they don't, why wouldn't they want to?"

The Premier League chairman, Richard Scudamore, is determined to punish anyone found guilty of breaking financial rules. Agents, particularly those who act for both sides in a transfer deal, will largely remain outside the scope of the inquiry, but Lord Stevens is confident he has the necessary powers to gather all available evidence.