NEWS
Thursday October 17 2019
Court hears Ferguson, Conte allegations

Agent Giuseppe ‘Pino’ Pagliara is on trial in England for bribery, having told an undercover reporter he helped Sir Alex Ferguson ‘fix’ a Manchester United match with Juventus and gave then-Chelsea manager Antonio Conte back-handers.

This is the same trial and general undercover sting operation from the Daily Telegraph that forced England manager Sam Allardyce to resign.

Pagliara, fellow agent Dax Price and former Barnsley assistant coach Tommy Wright are on trial at Southwark Crown Court for bribery.

Prosecutor Brian O’Neill QC said in court today that Pagliara accused Ferguson of conspiring to fix a Champions League game between Manchester United and Juventus.

“Towards the end of the meeting Pagliara launched into what could only be described as a diatribe of Sir Alex Ferguson, accusing him of having conspired with Pagliara to fix the result of a football match between Juventus, a club which Pagliara was associated with, and Manchester United in the Champions League for which Pagliara had thanked him with a gold 30 grand Rolex watch.

“Pagliara went on to accuse Sir Alex Ferguson of having taken money as part of transfer deals. He claimed that he had paid Ferguson before,” said the prosecutor.

He also alleged that he had “opened so many Swiss bank accounts for managers that you would not believe.”

The crux of the matter was circumventing third-party ownership rules and Coaches receiving ‘back-handers’ to help facilitate transfer deals.

“'You have to have an offshore account somewhere and that's where we do it. For example Antonio Conte [then head coach at Chelsea] has winked at us and said, ‘Yeah, I want that player, is there a little coffee for me Pino?’”

“Yeah, that's what he'll say: yeah of course there is and now I'm negotiating a coffee as well and we are not talking about a double espresso.”

The payment would then be disguised as a consultancy agreement by someone else.

Pagliara said after the sting in September 2016 that he had “lied” about all these allegations in a bid to impress the undercover reporter, who was posing as a businesswoman.

“I allowed them to believe the managers I was speaking to would not drop the money on the floor if I gave it to them,” Pagliara told BBC Sport two years ago.

“I felt there was no harm in me saying that, then they’d let me get on with the job of football. Of course, I lied, because I knew if they were talking to other agents, they would lie too, so it’s a question of lying more so that they would renew my contract.

“They mentioned the names and I said ‘yes, yes, yes.’ When they identified themselves as the Daily Telegraph, I told them to go and check if I’d done business with these people. They will have seen I had never done any business with those clubs or managers.”

Pagliara has never registered as a football agent with the English FA.

Both Pagliara and his associates deny the allegations. The trial continues.

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