The suggestion that Sam Allardyce might be charged, and banned, by the Football Association for openly discussing ways to circumnavigate the rules on third-party ownership, appears to have more to do with his employers seeking to vindicate their decision than any major transgression. Allardyce was an ungrateful and grasping employee, and his standing was undoubtedly damaged, but the FA must now suspect that, had they held their nerve, he could still have been in a job. So they need to play up his crime — make it seem more serious than it truly was.
The biggest scandal over third-party ownership concerned West Ham and Carlos Tevez, a transfer that took place in 2006. When did the FA get around to outlawing the practice? 2009. And FIFA? 2015. As Allardyce said, there is a way around it — and it starts at the top.
Faced with a third-party contract, the Premier League deploy lawyers to walk the club through the offending clauses, and remove them. To fully comply, they must then buy out the third-party owners, too.
Allardyce told Telegraph journalists, posing as investors: ‘You can still get round it. You get a percentage of the player’s agent’s fee that the agent pays to you, the company. You’re not getting a part of the transfer fee any more, because you can’t do that. But because of the size of the contracts now, the contract will be worth £30m, £40m, and you’ve done a deal with the agent where you’re getting five per cent of the agent’s fee, which is massive for about two hours’ work.’ So that’s pretty much the same as the Premier League’s guidance. You can’t have third-party ownership clauses, and you can’t have influence and you can’t claim the transfer fee — but you can be compensated, although the player will no longer be your property. And the FA want to ban Allardyce? If he was a lawyer, he would charge £1,000 an hour.