Former Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson is in the news again, as the most successful English Premier manager is being accused of match-fixing.
Sir Alex Ferguson was said to have allegedly fixed a Manchester United game with a football agent who rewarded him with a £30,000 gold Rolex, a court heard today, the Sun had reported.
According to the report, a Football agent Giuseppe “Pino” Pagliara, 64, made the claims to an undercover reporter posing as a businesswoman looking to invest in football, jurors were told.
In the secretly recorded meeting he also claimed that Sir Alex, who managed United from 1986 to 2013, took money from transfer deals, Southwark Crown Court heard.
Pagliara is accused of paying and facilitating a bribe and denies all charges against him, the report added.
Prosecuting, Brian O’Neill QC said Pagliara and fellow agent Dax Price tried to “impress” undercover reporter Claire Newell by arranging meetings with former England coach Steve McClaren, ex-Spurs boss Harry Redknapp and footballer Kanu.
He said Pagliara claimed that “99 per cent of the people in football if they weren’t in football, would be selling second-hand cars”.
Pagliara was said to be “furious” with Redknapp for suggesting the reporter should buy a football club instead of using a legal loophole to get around a ban on third-party ownership of players in England during a meeting on July 2016, the court heard.
Describing another meeting, Mr O’Neill said: “Towards the end of the meeting Pagliara launched into what could only be described as a diatribe of Sir Alex Ferguson, accusing him of having conspired with Pagliara to fix the result of a football match between Juventus, a club which Pagliara was associated with, and Manchester United in the Champions League for which Pagliara had thanked him with a gold 30 grand Rolex watch.
“Pagliara went on to accuse Sir Alex Ferguson of having taken money as part of transfer deals. He claimed that he had paid Ferguson before.”
He added: “To the outside world, the plan being espoused by Mr Pagliara, it would look as though the player in question was owned by the football club in Belgium when actually the player was owned by a third party.
“And that, said Pagliara, was the plan that he wanted to end upbringing to England because that’s where the money is.
“He went to speak about placing players in Italian clubs where he had various connections before moving them to England.
“‘You have to have an offshore account somewhere and that’s where we do it. For example, Antonio Conte [then head coach at Chelsea] has winked at us and said, “yeah, I want that player, is there a little coffee for me Pino?”‘
“A little coffee, she said.
‘Yeah, that’s what he’ll say: yeah, of course, there is and now I’m negotiating a coffee as well and we are not talking about a double espresso.’ “
He went on to say he would disguise it as a consultancy agreement by another trusted individual, the court heard.
“‘Claire, I’ve opened so many Swiss bank accounts for managers that you would not believe’.“
Tommy Wright, 53, then assistant head coach of Championship club Barnsley, accepted a cash bribe to get players to sign up with the agents, the court was told.
Reporter Claire Newell, who used Taylor as a fake surname, set up a fake company with her team and told Pagliara and Price that she wanted to invest in football players, jurors heard.
The court was told that they arranged for a £5,000 bribe to be handed in an envelope to Scots-born Wright, who played top-flight football for Leeds, Leicester City, Oldham and Middlesbrough.
Wright, of Barnsley, South Yorkshire, denies two counts of accepting a bribe.
0-Pagliara, 64, of Bury, Greater Manchester, and Price, 48, of Sittingbourne, Kent, deny two counts of paying and facilitating a bribe.