The agent at the centre of English football’s corruption scandal says his claim eight current and ex-Premier League managers took bribes was a lie.
Pino Pagliara was one of three agents filmed by the Daily Telegraph seemingly making accusations over transfers.
The Italian told BBC sports editor Dan Roan he wanted to “impress” businessmen and secure a lucrative contract.
“I allowed them to believe the managers would not drop the money on the floor if I gave it to them,” he said.
In the interview, Pagliara also:
- Claimed “lots” of corruption goes on in the English game;
- Said he has never made an illegal payment to any football official;
- Claimed his life has been “ruined” by the “disgraceful” sting;
- Offered to take a lie detector test to prove he was telling the truth.
A Telegraph statement said: “Our investigations team had numerous meetings and telephone conversations with Mr Pagliara over many months.
“The transcripts of our investigation, which are currently being prepared for the police and the FA, make it very clear what he said about a series of Premier League managers.”
‘Let’s look for the real villains’
The unlicensed agent was previously banned from football for five years after being found guilty of match-fixing in 2005.
Pagliara claimed that his past made him “damaged goods” and that “nobody is going to say a word in his defence” because he has been made “to look like a villain”.
“Do we want to eliminate corruption? Good. Let’s start by looking for the real villains,” he said.
“They thought: ‘Hey, it’s easy to re-invent the villain.’ Pagliara seems to fit the bill.
“I don’t know where to go from here.”
The allegations were published by the Telegraph as part of its investigation into corruption in football.
Sam Allardyce left his post as England manager on Tuesday, making a “whole-hearted apology” in the wake of allegations in the newspaper that he told the undercover reporters how it was possible to “get around” rules on player transfers.
On Thursday, Southampton’s assistant manager Eric Black was alleged to have given advice on how to bribe officials at other clubs, with the Premier League club requesting a full transcript of the meeting. He denies the claims.
Barnsley assistant boss Tommy Wright was sacked on Thursday over claims he took cash for trying to engineer certain transfers, allegations he has “categorically denied”.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, manager of fellow Championship side QPR, has denied “any accusations of wrongdoing” after being filmed apparently negotiating a fee to travel to Singapore to speak to the Far East firm, with the club postponing an internal investigation.
Pagliara added that he would co-operate with any investigation by the Football Association, which governs English football.
“If they need me I’m here. I am certainly not running away. The FA have not been in touch or even the police.”
He was speaking to Roan on a number of topics surrounding the corruption claims.
What corruption is there in English football?
“I’ve been here a long time. Sometimes the average English CEO or manager, endeavouring to do the right thing, they miss out the small picture.
“Sometimes this is a product of naivety, sometimes it’s a product of wanting to look at the big picture, you miss out the small things that do happen.”
How can agents influence managers?
“I have never paid a manager a bung. I have obviously had some good relationships with clubs and managers who knew that, if his job ever came to an end, because of my relationship with another club he could get employment there.
“Of course I used the power that I had behind me. When I worked the patronage of Juventus that gave me this power, this privilege if you like. You can use it as a leverage – but I have never paid a manager.”
How has the game changed?
“It is a lot cleaner, there is no question about that. The whole industry has changed: the athlete, the football, there is more preparation to everything. I don’t believe that there is that much to be changed.
Why did he lie in such detail?
“I had to make sure my argument was compelling. At the end of the day, I got a bit creative.”
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37524416