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Thursday, January 12, 2006
Scudamore asks Newell to provide bungs evidence

Mike Newell has a duty to his sport to tell the Football Association everything he knows about transfer bungs in the modern game.

That was the reaction of Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore this morning to the Luton manager's claim that the scourge of transfer 'back-handers' remains a significant problem in English football.

'He has a duty to the game to tell us exactly what he knows, and if there has been wrong-doing it will be taken up,' Scudamore predicted. 'It has the potential to be fantastic evidence.'

Scudamore has been frustrated over much of the past decade at the lack of hard facts to back up constant rumours of dodgy dealings in the transfer market.

'I've been in this job for seven years and I've always said if anybody could come forward to show evidence of this going on the Football Association compliance unit should get straight on to it,' he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

'Mike Newell could well have done us a favour if he can substantiate what he is saying.

'I would have preferred - if it has happened as he says - that he could have said it at the time.

'If he is prepared to make these claims as strongly as he has made them I'm sure the compliance unit will be very interested.'

Scudamore, who confirmed he plans to discuss Newell's remarks today with his FA counterpart Brian Barwick, admits to doubts about the truth behind suggestions of transfer improprieties.

Since George Graham was sacked as Arsenal manager a decade ago for his involvement in a bung scandal, the football authorities have taken no action against any individuals.

Asked whether Newell may face action from the FA in the event of him being unable or unwilling to specify his claims, Scudamore declined to comment on the policy of another organisation save to note: 'He has clearly put himself in a difficult position. There are disrepute rules involving conduct.'

Anyone who is tempted to follow Newell's lead should be in no doubt, according to Scudamore, that they ought to be prepared to name names.

'There have been a number of claims in the past,' he said. 'People have to be able to substantiate them, because the reputation of the game is at stake.

'I welcome anybody who is prepared to stand up and `out' any of this wrong-doing if it is going on.'

Should that happen Scudamore will no longer have to nurse suspicions that smoke is being circulated without fire.

'I have never had one shred of evidence to follow up,' he stressed. 'That is surprising, given how willing we are known to be to act on it.

'Maybe it does not happen and is not as prevalent as people make out - there is an awful lot of rumour that goes around the game.'

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