‘The Tip of The Iceberg ?’

Due to how fast this subject has developed over the last 48 hours I have been forced to revise this article numerous times since starting, and now that things have settled just a bit (well at least for the time being) I felt I should at least finish following Days 1 and 2 of what has now been less than affectionately referred to as Allardyce-Gate

Since starting the article when the rumours of allegations against Sam Allardyce started to circulated we have seen statements by various parties, the England manager vacate his position after just 1 match and more revelations come out and with more expected.

However despite changing the article itself, I will not change the context or tone in which I was writing the original article (below) as my views on the subject have not yet changed.


‘The Finger of Blame’

Following the investigations undertaken by the Daily Telegraph over what is believed to be many months, the last 2 days have seen many accusations and finger pointing generally in the direction of either (i) the previous England manager Sam Allardyce or (ii) the Daily Telegraph’s investigations team for an alleged ‘sting’ operation.

However there seems to be no finger pointing at the football authorities or the wider football community as a whole whether global or domestic, who I believe should all take some blame (including agents/intermediaries like myself) if not for the actual meetings, allegations and misdemeanours that are referenced in the Daily Telegraphs investigations involving the England manager and his associates.


Playing Devils Advocate for Big Sam (NOTE : not his defence)

Ok, so just playing devils advocate for one minute and looking at what Sam Allardyce is alleged to have said. It is not uncommon to hear similar comments and conversations about how regulations can be (and are) circumvented ……. and these comments are made by various participants including agents/intermediaries (including myself), managers, players, club officials, the media and dare I say even football officials.

After all I have long said it would be far easier (and arguably far more lucrative) to be a ‘bad’ and unscrupulous agent breaking the rules at every turn than it is being a law abiding and ‘good agent’. And in all honesty I myself discuss with others, ways the regulations could be and are circumvented by some, but I like many others do not act upon this knowledge.

However, from what I have seen and read, whilst I accept the comments made may well have been observations of the industry and the context in which they have been made (e.g. subject of the meeting, who he thought he was meeting, supposed business propositions/purpose), the combination of the two did not bode well, and ultimately drew questions about the national team managers integrity on football related business matters than could be adjudged to constitute a ‘conflict of interests’.


Playing Devils Advocate for the Investigators from The Daily Telegraph

Looking back over several years it is safe to say the managers name (and that of several associates) has drawn the attention of investigative journalists, but he is not alone in this.  So in essence an investigative journalist can be somewhat forgiven if they arguably ‘sting’ a person or persons whose integrity has been brought into question previously.

Whilst many people will accuse the British media of ‘building people up, only with the aim of knocking them down’, I doubt this is the case in this instance. Why, well (i) the manager has only been in the job just over two months, (ii) we are led to believe these investigations have been going on for 10 months plus, and (iii) generally the media only get on the England managers case after bad results, bad performances or he doesn’t furnish them with soundbites and stories.

Subsequently I heard one very pertinent point made in regards to the the Daily Telegraph and this investigation : if a detective undertook an investigation and highlighted a misdemenour, would we criticise the detective for their attempt to uncover wrongdoings ?


So Who Else is Possibly To ‘blame’?

I saw a tweet today from a football journalist who I respect immensely as he is amongst other things, very balanced, well informed and measured ……… “It would be so wrong to say English football is corrupt ….. generalising is not good”.  Whilst I agree with the general sentiment about generalisation not being good, the fact is corruption in English football is way more endemic that many want to recognise let alone believe or acknowledge.

The fact is that whilst England has probably one of the better national associations when it comes to regulations, I personally believe a lot more could and should be done; not solely by the Football Association but collaboratively with other football participants. This general apathy amongst the wider football community has led to a general acceptance of underhand practices, lack of ethics and decreasing standards in many areas of football not least the actions and practices of agents/intermediaries both licensed and unlicensed.

Subsequently, is it little surprise that it is seen as acceptable by many participants to openly discuss ways in which the regulations are bypassed and rules are broken with a degree of apathy rather than shock? Personally I can only speak with some authority on the regulations governing agent (intermediary) activity, but even that small example (which was referred to in the case of ‘Allardyce-Gate’) is a clear indication of a lack of will for effective regulations and even where regulations do exist and then are subsequently breached, they are pointless and somewhat ignored by many if not regulated and enforced.

So, whilst the finger of blame has been pointed today and in recent days primarily at Sam Allardyce (and his associates) along with the investigative journalists from the Daily Telegraph ………., some blame must be shouldered by a far wider group of individuals and organisations in allowing this apathy and integrity to damage a sport that means so much, to so many.