Sam Allardyce’s Exit: The Toxic Effects Of Corruption In World Football

The English national team is preparing for yet another new era in their storied history this week after a sting operation by The Telegraph led to the dismissal of Sam Allardyce as England manager last month.

The former West Ham manager, who remained at the helm of affairs for 67 days and oversaw only one match, was secretly filmed giving advice to businessmen on how to circumvent FA rules which prohibit the third-party ownership of players.

Gareth Southgate, the U-21 manager who has been given the senior role on an interim basis, will manage the Three Lions for the first time on Saturday when his side face Malta in the first of their upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

We look at the issues involved and other cases that have seen corruption take hold in world football.


Using his position as England manager to land a £400,000 deal and suggesting ways to get around FA rules deprived Sam Allardyce his dream job, and the £3 million plus bonuses a year it came with.

Under third-party ownership, a player’s economic rights are owned by outside sources like football agents, sports management or other investment companies.

This is entirely different from co-ownership in which two clubs share a player’s transfer rights. The practice can be quite common in many parts of the world, especially South America.

Carlos Tevez, Javier Mascherano, Anderson and Ramires all had difficulties moving to the Premier League due to issues with this arrangement.

The FA found that player transfer fees and contract numbers can be modified and even hidden, resulting in fines against West Ham United during the transfers of Tevez and Mascherano.

Third-party ownership was banned ahead of the 2008-09 season.

Many within the game believe this still takes place frequently, and the investigation involving Allardyce certainly brought the topic back into the spotlight.

With several other managers around England possibly being questioned by the FA, including Steve Bruce and David Moyes, there could still be more details and repercussions from the investigation.

La Liga’s Barcelona recently faced problems and were involved in legal wrangling with third-party investors DIS in the club’s acquisition of Neymar in 2013. A deal that was substantially under-invoiced led to numerous issues for both the team and the player.


The United States and the Federal Bureau of Investigation made a move at world football corruption in a major way last year, resulting in one of the biggest FIFA corruption scandals in decades.

Focused mainly on representatives of CONCACAF and South America, seven FIFA officials were arrested in May of 2015 and charged with a variety of different crimes including bribery, money laundering and fraud.

Chuck Blazer and Jack Warner of CONCACAF were at the heart of the investigations, as stories of their corruption and bribery extended from confederation business to FIFA elections.

The media rights for major football tournaments were found to be used in ways of both bribery and extortion throughout the Americas, leading to the end of Traffic Sports and the careers of several sports marketing executives.

The broadcast rights to events like the FIFA World Cup come with tremendous value, and it can be an easily tempting situation to exploit for personal and financial gain amongst the individuals involved.


In the summer of 2006, Italy were crowned champions at the World Cup in Germany. In only a matter of days after this triumph, the country’s top league was rocked by scandal.

An investigation found Juventus and three other Serie A clubs to be guilty of manipulating the results of matches. Juventus, the reigning Serie A champions, were relegated to Serie B for the first time in their history.

The idea of controlling the outcomes of matches for either gambling purposes or for the overall improvement of a club’s fortunes can happen at any time.

Sometimes these actions can be difficult to spot. Other times, like in a Nigerian league featuring 146 goals between two matches, it can be a bit easier to see through the desired intentions.

Corruption in world football is an aspect that will always be present in one way or another. What is important is that the right people be appointed to guide FIFA and the six confederations to combat its adverse effect on the beautiful game.


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