UK law enforcement officials are moving ahead with their investigation of corruption and bribery charges in English football. But the figure at the center of the scandal is no longer a subject of inquiry.
Former Bolton and West Ham manager Sam Allardyce was exposed by The Telegraph for appearing to use his position as England manager to help foreign investors circumvent FA regulations for personal profit. The revelations cost Allardyce his job, and further installments of the exposé showed that corruption in English football runs deeper than anyone suspected.
The Telegraph bombshell precipitated both an internal investigation by the FA and a criminal inquiry, the latter of which is just getting underway. But the City of London police department says that Allardyce will not be a target of the probe.
”Detectives from the City of London Police Economic Crime Directorate have reviewed material gathered by a recent Daily Telegraph investigation into suspected corruption in football. This review of the material has concluded and the decision has been taken to begin a criminal investigation into a single suspected offence of bribery.”
Allardyce released a statement praising the decision by the police and called on the FA to clear him of wrongdoing as well.
”I was always confident that this would be the case as there was no evidence against me. I now ask that the Football Association deals with this matter as quickly as possible. I would like to thank my friends and family who have stood by me during this difficult period. The position of England head coach is the pinnacle of any English manager’s career and it was my dream job. While I am sad that my tenure came to an end early, I am nonetheless proud to have been chosen to manage the England football team and hope that today’s confirmation from the police will give me the opportunity to move on.”
The FA so far has given no indication that they intend to drop disciplinary proceedings against Allardyce, which are currently in a holding pattern until evidence used in the Telegraph investigation are released to them. It’s unclear when that might happen.