Panel may still punish Graham

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The Independent Online
THE INQUIRY

George Graham still faces punishment from the Premiership inquiry, despite the decision by Arsenal to terminate his contract. Otherwise, as it stands at the moment, he is free to take up another job in football.

The three-man investigating team, consisting of Rick Parry, chief executive of the Premier League, Robert Reid QC, and Steve Coppell, the outgoing chief executive of the League Managers' Association, will make their findings public tomorrow.

They began their inquiry into transfers and alleged "bungs" 15 months ago, following accusations surrounding Teddy Sheringham's transfer to Tottenham Hotspur from Nottingham Forest in 1992.

When the Graham allegations first surfaced in the newspapers, they became a matter of priority and all other discussions were shelved. Graham or his representatives have twice been interviewed by the panel, who have also talked to the Norwegian agent at the centre of the claims, Rune Hauge.

Last Friday, Parry saw Peter Hill-Wood, the Arsenal chairman, in a meeting which sealed Graham's fate. "The FA Premier League is determined that all necessary steps will be taken to ensure that the game is clean. The integrity of football is of paramount importance," Parry said.

Parry and his team have also been looking into transfer deals concerning other Scandinavians. Graham's signing of Pl Lydersen from the Norwegian club Start IK has also been investigated.

"There is no question of the singling out of one individual, the commission is looking into a range of relevant matters concerning overseas transfers," Parry said last night. "The commission has proceeded in a rigorous and thorough manner over the last 10 weeks, and will continue to do so.

"As part of the inquiry process, representatives of Arsenal and George Graham have been seen within the last week, and presented with details of the findings of the inquiry relevant to them. On the basis of the information received, Arsenal have decided on the course of action announced earlier today."

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