FA quiz Redknapp over alleged £16m 'betting sting'

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The Independent Online

Harry Redknapp, the Portsmouth manager, yesterday faced the Football Association hierarchy who are looking into an alleged £16m betting sting.

Redknapp met with the FA's compliance department in a secret session at their London headquarters. It is understood the department asked Redknapp to produce phone records and bank statements covering the period last year when he left Southampton for their rivals in the wake of heavy betting activity.

Last night, senior FA sources said they wanted to stop illegal betting in the game. It was stressed that Redknapp, 59, was not being accused of insider dealing but was being given a chance to prove his innocence for good.

An FA source said: "We're not accusing Harry of anything but there is a very easy way to resolve this, which is for him to produce all his phone and bank records to put clear water between himself and the betting activity at the time."

It is understood the £1m-a-year manager was officially warned that failure to comply with the demand could lead to the ultimate punishment of suspension from his job. The FA started an investigation into a possible betting scam following heavy betting on Redknapp to become Portsmouth's manager while still in charge at Southampton. While £16.7m was traded on the betting exchange Betfair, that figure was slightly misleading because of the "churn" that occurs on betting exchanges. In fact, punters betting on Redknapp moving to Portsmouth actually won only £864,000, but this was still deemed to be a significant and irregular amount for such a market.

It is understood that individual bets on Redknapp reached as high as £25,000 at odds of 2-5 or, in other words, on one occasion somebody staked £25,000 to win only £10,000. Betfair, who have a "memorandum of understanding" with the FA, have made all their records available.

The FA's probe has been trying to establish whether any of those people who have profited from Redknapp's re-appointment at Portsmouth are linked in any way to him. It is understood they have already interviewed several people connected to Redknapp but is it not known whether the FA have established beyond doubt that either they won money or, more importantly, did so as a result of insider information.

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