Stevens’ report clears clubs of paying or receiving bungs

LORD STEVENS’ long-awaited report into alleged illegal payments clears all Premier League clubs of paying or receiving bungs.

But the report raises separate concerns about two managers and a number of agents.

The former Metropolitan Police commissioner expressed concerns over “a conflict of interest” involving Sam Allardyce and his former agent son Craig while at Bolton.

He also points to “inconsistencies in evidence” provided by former Newcastle manager Graeme Souness.

Deals involving Chelsea, Newcastle, Bolton, Middlesbrough and Portsmouth have all been highlighted by the former Metropolitan Police commissioner in his final report to the Premier League.

The main focus of the report targets agents though the clubs are set to face a further investigation from the Football Association.

Stevens has also expressed concerned about 15 agents and third parties involved in some 17 transfers.

Stevens says in the report: “The inquiry remains concerned at the conflict of interest that it believes existed between Craig Allardyce, his father Sam Allardyce (the then manager at Bolton Wanderers) and the club itself.”

He goes on: “There remain inconsistencies in evidence provided by Graeme Souness (a former manager of the club) and Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd’s son Kenneth Shepherd as to their respective roles in transfer negotiations.”

Craig Allardyce has promised to provide “further documentation” to aid Stevens’ inquiry after today’s report.

A statement released on behalf of Allardyce said: “Craig is pleased that Lord Stevens confirmed that there is no evidence or suggestion of any irregular payments to Bolton Wanderers FC or those involved with the club.

“As stated in the findings, Craig has always co-operated with the Inquiry. He is currently awaiting and will shortly provide to Quest any further documentation in order to help clarify outstanding issues in relation to the transfers which are ‘uncleared’.”

Souness was baffled to be named. He said in a statement issued by his solicitors: “I cannot understand why my name features in this report.

“I volunteered full information to Quest as a witness and I have heard nothing further from them.”

Of the 17 transfers named by Stevens, all remain under investigation because of unsatisfactory responses from agents – including super-agent Pini Zahavi.

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