Furious Harry Redknapp launches full-scale tirade in response to corruption allegations
Published 06/10/2016 | 16:28
Harry Redknapp has insisted the Daily Telegraph story claiming he failed to report his players for betting on a match was "a lie", as he offered up a staunch defence of his reputation and insisted corruption is not a major problem at the top of football.
In what was the weakest of the Telegraph stories that kicked-off with the release of a video that led to the downfall of Sam Allardyce as England manager, Redknapp was accused of having knowledge of his players betting on a match they were involved in.
His failure to alert authorities to to those bets would have been a breach of Football Association rules, but Redknapp insists the story had no foundation in his column for London's Evening Standard.
"I hope people have seen the newspaper allegations against me as the rubbish they are so we can all move on," he wrote.
"I’m supposed to have known players I once managed had a bet in a game we can’t name for legal reasons. Well, I’m telling you they never did.
"This guy told me he knew a few of the lads and had a bet on a game involving one of my teams. He said a few of the players had done it and I just replied: “They’d all had a bet,” but I wasn’t even listening to him.
"I’d been there for three hours and just wanted to get home. I went along with what this guy was saying — which of course I shouldn’t have done in hindsight but then again you don’t expect what you say in a conversation like this to be recorded — and if it really was true, where is the evidence? There would be a bet receipt of some form somewhere.
"It was an impossible game for anyone to have a bet on in all honesty anyway. Anybody who understands gambling would know that from the circumstances involved — a top of the table team against one that’s relegated.
"I recently rang one of the players involved and asked them if they did bet on it. He told me it never happened.
"It was a load of cobblers. Players aren’t stupid enough to bet on their own games yet somehow I was accused of not telling the FA about something that didn’t actually happen."
Redknapp went on to clarify why he had attended the meeting, as the out of work manager was approached to get involved in a project that turned out to be a cover for the newspaper sting.
"I was only at this meeting because I was supposedly meeting a billionaire who wanted to buy a Premier League club and thought I should be the new manager or a director of football,"
"He wanted to talk to me about which club he should buy. That’s why I turned up - what am I supposed to say?
"The guy who got me there - who rung me up out the blue to tell me this story - claimed the billionaire had so much money and was interested in giving me what could be a great job opportunity so it seemed like I should at least hear him out."
Redknapp concluded by suggesting the lack of credible evidence presented by the Telegraph despite a ten month investigation left the impression that football was, in fact, a sport relatively free of corruption at the top end of the game.
"There weren’t many revelations across the board in the end," he added. "Sam Allardyce made a mistake and paid the price, while Tommy Wright was sacked by Barnsley for allegedly taking a bung, but what else has there been?
"I don’t think there’s widespread corruption. Managers rarely get involved in transfers at the highest level. They are done by chairmen, chief executives and people who own the clubs.
"People have got carried away by claiming football has to clean up its act. If someone uncovers that then obviously we all want it to be dealt with properly but the evidence just isn’t there yet.
"Not much that’s come out in the last week has made me change my opinion on that."