Premier League chief executive, Richard Scudamore, was last night embroiled in a row over Lord Stevens’ report into corruption in football.
The disupte follows the leak of a memo sent by Scudamore to Premiership club chairmen in which he suggests that the final report had been influenced by representations from the Premier League.
The memo, which was leaked to Channel 4 News last night, included the following passage: “… in respect of the [Stevens] recommendations we did feed back in the strongest possible terms the sentiments expressed by the clubs in our meeting of November 9. It would appear that these have been taken on board … save for the concern regarding the agents of managers not being allowed to act for players at the same club. Lord Stevens was ‘not for turning’ on this and we will have to consider it in due course.”
Earlier in the day Scudamore had denied the Premier League had influenced the report.
He stated: “Certainly the FA and ourselves have had no discussion about the wording of this report. It is Lord Stevens’ report.”
A Premier League spokesman claimed the memo refererred to observations rather than recommendations into Steven’s report.
“Clubs have had no opportunity to influence or water down Lord Stevens’ recommendations,” said the spokesman. “It is an independent report, full stop.”
A spokesman for Quest, the corporate intelligence agency run by Stevens, also denied claims that the report’s independence had been compromised.
“At no time during the process have the clubs tried to lobby Lord Stevens or anyone in the Quest team,” he said.
Stevens said he had concerns over 17 transfers of the 362 Premiership deals over a two-year period investigated by Quest. The Premier League has granted Quest additional time to investigatee those deals, which involve eight “major agents”.
Asked whether he suspected that people are making money through illegal practices in football, Stevens said: “In relation to some of the activities, yes.
“The Quest team has handed certain material to the authorities but because of the law they cannot comment further on this.”
Stevens added that Premiership clubs had displayed “scant disregard for the rules and regulations of this great game. It is unacceptable.”
However, Scudamore sought to asolve the clubs from accusations of wrongdoing.
“The concentration is now on agents and a number of other parties, not clubs or club officials,” said Scudamore. “In one sense [the clubs] are in the clear in that the investigation into them has finished. The whole purpose of this inquiry is not only to bring forward any evidence but to bring forward recommendations for how processes and practices can be improved.”
Meanwhile, leading agent, Willie McKay, has criticised Stevens’ investigation. McKay was one of eight agents who Stevens said had failed to co-operate with the inquiry.
“I did not answer the questions because the Football Association had the information,” he told the Daily Mirror.
“I was unhappy that my name appeared in newspaper articles that seem to have leaked from the inquiry team. It is no way to run a so-called investigation.
“I filled out all of the appropriate forms on all the deals at the time and there has never been any query about this,” he said.
“I have nothing to hide.”