'Remortgage your house, the odds are mental'
What one player told an agent as Harry Redknapp admits he discovered his players 'all had a spread bet' on own match
Harry Redknapp has admitted he discovered that his players bet on the result of one of their own matches, in contravention of English Football Association rules.
Redknapp was filmed by undercover reporters discussing a match on which “the lads” had “all had a spread bet” on the scoreline.
His players allegedly bet on themselves to win the match, and one of them allegedly told a football agent to “remortgage your house” because the odds were favourable.
The agent later claimed that the opposing team’s players had also bet on the match.
Bookmakers had given long odds on Redknapp’s side winning, possibly because they assumed he would field a weakened side as his team had nothing left to play for that season. In fact, Redknapp put out a strong side that went on to win easily.
FA rules strictly forbid players from betting on games in which they are involved, and managers are expected to report any such misconduct to the FA as soon as they hear of it.
Redknapp is not believed to have raised the matter with the FA.
There is no suggestion of any criminality on Redknapp's part, or that he knew the opposition players were betting, or that he was aware his own players had bet on the match when the game kicked off. He is shown on tape joking about his surprise when he found out.
If, however, he failed to tell the FA when he found out about the betting, he would be in breach of the Association's rules which require anyone in the game to report immediately any information about misdemeanours.
When The Daily Telegraph contacted Redknapp to put the allegation to him, he admitted becoming aware of his players betting on the match, but said: "Who gives a s*** about that?"
Told it would have been against FA rules, he replied: "Oh would it? Oh, okay. But not at that time I don't think it was, was it? They weren't betting on the other team, they were having a bet on their own team."
FA rules then and now forbid players betting on matches in which they are playing. Lawyers for Redknapp said he was not aware of players betting on the match at the time.
The former Tottenham Hotspur, Portsmouth, Southampton and West Ham manager met undercover reporters posing as representatives of a Far East firm that wanted to break into English football's billion-pound transfer market.
Also present at the meeting in the private members' club Crockfords in Mayfair were the football agents Dax Price and Pino Pagliara, who believed they were going to be employed as consultants to the fictitious company.
As Redknapp discussed the pros and cons of investing in the English game, Mr Price asked him: "Harry, you remember when you was at (club X), (player A) called me. . . last game of the season against (club Y)?"
Redknapp replied: "Oh yeah . . . at (club X) yeah."
Price said: "(Player A from Redknapp's team) phoned me and said remortgage your house cos the odds were mental, they were 5/2 at the time."
He explained that the odds against Redknapp's team winning were favourable, because Redknapp's team had nothing to play for and so might have been expected to lose.
Price said one of the opposition team's players who was not in the squad that day was in contact with him from the stands, where he was watching the match.
He said: "All my family lumped on, we lumped on, I phoned him after 15 minutes because you had put, you put a good, you put a great side out as well, you put the best side out, and, um, I spoke to (opposition player), he was sitting in the stand. . . and he went, '(Redknapp's side) ain't touched the ball yet, first 15 minutes', and the game ended up (with Redknapp's side winning)."
Redknapp replied: "They battered us. They murdered us early on."
He added: "At half-time I took (a player) off and put, erm, (another player on) and they're all looking at me all the lads cos I didn't know they'd had a bet, cos they was all choked, they'd all had a spread bet and everything."
Price said one player had "20 grand on it" and named two others he said had bet on the result. He added: "Even the (opposition) players were betting on it. I'll never forget it."
The Telegraph is not identifying the match in question, the teams involved or the players concerned for legal reasons.
Redknapp met the undercover reporters on July 6, the day of Wales' Euro 2016 semi-final against Portugal, which was being shown on a television in the dining room of the private members' club.
Redknapp (69) also discussed the issue of third-party ownership of players, which is banned by the FA and Fifa. It involves an individual or company owning all or part of the financial rights to a player, meaning that the third party receives all or part of the profits when a player is sold, rather than the selling club getting the money.
He was asked whether he would be interested in "getting involved" if the Far East firm bought a football club in the Championship, the second tier of English football. Redknapp replied: "Yeah of course, absolutely, I'd support you definitely, definitely."
An undercover reporter then asked whether Redknapp would also be interested if the fictitious Far East firm went for another option - third-party ownership of players.
He was asked: "If we don't buy the club but we're looking at doing the third-party ownership and get those players into England, and you happen to be in a position in the club would you be interested in co-operating then as well?"
Redknapp replied: "Yeah, absolutely, any way I could help, you know. Listen I put my money where my mouth is and all you know. . . if you, if you're gonna buy players, now, if I'm involved in picking the players then I don't mind having an investment and having a little bit of a, you know, not a thing obviously but you know, I'd put a few quid in and take a chance with you.
"I need something to do with my money as well, don't I? Can't be fairer than that can you?"
He then asked "what's the objection" from the FA to third-party ownership.
"You're helping clubs to buy players because they can't afford them, you'd think they'd be only too pleased," he said. He advised his guests to steer clear of third-party ownership and instead buy a lower league club.
When the Telegraph called Redknapp to discuss his players betting on their match, he said: "Unbeknownst to me. No, not a spread bet. It wasn't a spread bet. I think they had a bet on the game, but it wasn't, that was nothing to do with me. . . after the game I'd heard the rumour the lads had had a bet that day . . . I'm not in control of whether they go and have a bet or not."
On the issue of third-party ownership, Redknapp said: "It's not something that I've ever been involved in, and it's not something that I'd want to get involved in.
"As far as buying players go and me investing, you've got to be dreaming. I would not invest, why would I invest in buying footballers?" (© Daily Telegraph, London)