The Telegraph’s undercover investigation has already blown the subject of corruption in English football wide open this week.
Sam Allardyce, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Massimo Cellino and Tommy Wright have all come under the spotlight as a result of the British newspaper’s revelations regarding potentially illegal and improper activity.
And on Thursday night another senior figure in the game, this time from the Premier League, became the latest name revealed as part of the investigation.
Southampton assistant manager Eric Black was filmed offering advice on giving bribes to officials at other clubs.
In the video recorded by undercover reporters posing as members of a firm from the Far East, Black admitted he might be able to persuade a colleague from another club to pass on information about players to a company that wanted to represent footballers for ‘a couple of grand’.
“It doesn’t take too much to get these people involved because they won’t have an awful lot of money,” Black said.
Football agent Scott McGarvey was also in attendance and admitted it had been done before.
“I’ll be dead honest with you,” said McGarvey. “I’ve done it before, the youth team manager doesn’t earn a lot of money, 60, 70 grand, maybe 40 grand at [named club], and I go, ‘by the way, here’s two grand. I’ll give you two grand every f****** month, but I need you to get me the best young players in the country.’ ”
Such payments are banned and Black should have reported such activity to the Football Association.
Black was Aston Villa’s interim manager after Remi Garde left by mutual consent back in March but left the club at the end of the season to move to the south coast and become Claude Puel’s assistant.
Southampton released a statement late on Thursday night: “Southampton Football Club has today been made aware by The Daily Telegraph that, as part of their on-going investigation, the club’s Assistant First Team Manager Eric Black will feature as part of an article in tomorrow’s paper.
“The club immediately requested to be sent, by The Daily Telegraph, the details of this article, but the newspaper declined to share any further information.
“We have today contacted The FA and The Premier League, and intend to work closely with both bodies on this matter when the facts become clear.
“Southampton Football Club is fully committed to investigating any situation that directly or indirectly relates to our club, employees or the wider community.”