Bung Buster Report

WIDEBOY agent Barrry Silkman got himself into an undignified slanging match on Sky Sports News as he defended himself after being “named and shamed” by Lord Stevens in the bung busting inquiry report. He accused the former top cop of being “a 100% liar”, blustered about litigation and being a scapegoat then – after being asked how much he made from the Fabio Rochemback deal – he became increasingly emotional, inarticulate and aggressive in a manner that belied any notion that he was smooth-talking deal-maker.
My heart sank. How could clubs – how could Boro – get involved with people like this? Even if he hasn’t done anything illegal, and the questions at present revolve around failure to fully disclose the paperwork over some of his deals and illustrate the papertrail between himself and ‘so-called super-agent’ Pini Zahavi in the Yakubu transfer rather than any specific offence, even if he is a squeaky clean he is still a smarmy, brash, rude and dislikeable individual. He was Boro’s agent of choice for several seasons but thankfully that relationship was severed last year… although the club are now having to deal with the fallout that has come with that relationship.

Silkman gave a completely ill-advised telephone interview on Sky Sports within 15 minutes of the report being published in which he almost melted down. Rather than legalistic defnsive caution he lost the plot and lost his dignity and made a highly libellous attack:

“He’s an absolute total liar, whoever he is Lord Stevens is a liar, these people are liars 100 per cent. I went to see them with my lawyer, I showed them every single thing that went in and out of my account. To question me if they are saying there is something wrong with what i’ve done in the Fabio Rochemback deal, ie. a bung or something illegal, let’s go to court or the High Court and let them say that i’ve done something wrong in that deal because I promise you if they do that I will begin litigation and do everything in my power to discredit them. I have done zero wrong, I’m a man of integrity.”

Incredibly this horrible man was Boro’s agent of choice for several seasons – after Steve Gibson had severed relationships with a string of other agents who had demanded unusual or unjustified commissions there were very few left to work through – but thankfully that link was severed last year… although the club are now having to deal with the fallout that has come with that relationship and from the two deals named in the controversial report.
First it must be stressed that there is no question that Boro have been involved in any wrong-doing. The conduct of the club is not at issue. Their name is raised in connection with transfer deals that the commission were not happy with because there were gaps in the paperwork, or there was no clear forensic breakdown of how, where and when paymenst were made.
The inquiry was not prepared to sign off the £7.5m Yakubu move to Boro because Zahavi, who had masterminded a complex deal that involved a joint ownership between Portsmouth and the players’ former Israeli club, failed to explain his role and reward in a transfer that it has been widely reported he stands to make £3m from:

“Zahavi has failed to co-operate fully with the Inquiry. There was an initial failure to disclose his involvement in a number of transfers but, more seriously, he has failed to provide the Inquiry with complete bank statements due to the confidential nature of them. There remain questions relating to his relationship with and payments to Barry Silkman and Barry Silkman’s failure to initially disclose his involvement in all the transactions in which he received fees.”

The same relationship between the two agents acted in the move of Rochemback from Barcelona two Summers ago and the panel found the same problems of a lack of transparency, and a refusal to answer their questions about the structure of the deal.
That sounds bad and Boro fans who have a residual distrust of the football authorities and a fear that any transgression on the club’s part will inevitably lead to apoint deduction should have no fears. The report expressly states: “there is no evidence of any irregular payments to club officials or players and they are identified here only as a consequence of the outstanding issues the Inquiry has with the agents identified.”
What it does show is that the shadowy world of agents and fixers is a parastitcal one that leeches money from the game, from the players, from the clubs and ultimately from the fans. Let us hope that this report can galvanise the political will within teh game to finally act to crack down on illicit payments, back-handers and the widespread funnelling of cash through multiple bank accounts to deceive the authorities and to avoid paying tax.
Here’s the full text of the summary of the key findings in the final report:
The Inquiry submits its latest findings in this matter below. All findings are based on our latest information and of course if further information is obtained by the relevant authorities the precise position may alter. We would urge those individuals named here to now fully co-operate in order to assist with resolving all matters.
In the following paragraphs, to assist in understanding where relevant jurisdiction may lie in these matters, individuals will be identified in the first instance as being a Licensed Agent under The FA’s jurisdiction (LA) or a FIFA Licensed Agent under the jurisdiction of a foreign national association (FLA) or an Unlicensed Agent (ULA).
The inquiry is not prepared to sign off the remaining 17 transfers for the following reasons:
1. Pinhas Zahavi (FLA) has failed to co-operate fully with the Inquiry. There was an initial failure to disclose his involvement in a number of transfers but, more seriously, he has failed to provide the Inquiry with complete bank statements due to the confidential nature of them. There has also been a lack of responsiveness by Zahavi. There remain questions relating to his relationship with and payments to Barry Silkman (LA) and Barry Silkman’s failure to initially disclose his involvement in all the transactions in which he received fees.
The Clubs, Club officials and players listed below all co-operated fully with the Inquiry and provided full documentation (including bank statements where requested). There is no evidence of any irregular payments to Club officials or players and they are identified here only as a consequence of the outstanding issues the Inquiry has with the agents identified.
As a result, the following transfers remain uncleared:
i) Collins Mbesuma (to Portsmouth FC)
ii) Ayegbeni Yakubu (to Middlesbrough FC)
iii) Fabio Rochemback (to Middlesbrough FC)
iv) Didier Drogba (to Chelsea FC)
v) Petr Cech (to Chelsea FC)
The Inquiry recommends that FIFA are asked to launch their own inquiry into the conduct of Mr Zahavi based on the evidence obtained.
2. Despite his co-operation, the Inquiry has concerns regarding the involvement of Craig Allardyce (at the time a Licensed Agent) in a number of transactions at Bolton Wanderers FC. Mr Gartside and officials currently at the Club have fully co-operated and the Inquiry has found no evidence or suggestion of any irregular payments to them. However, the following three transfers in which Craig Allardyce was involved remain uncleared:
i) Ali Al-Habsi (to Bolton Wanderers FC)
ii) Tal Ben Haim (to Bolton Wanderers FC)
iii) Blessing Kaku (to Bolton Wanderers FC)
In respect of i) above, the Inquiry also has remaining concerns about the involvement of Peter Harrison (LA) and his relationship with Craig Allardyce.
In respect of ii) and iii) above, the Inquiry has remaining, unanswered concerns about the involvement of Jamie Hart (LA) and David Abou (ULA).
In the additional transfer of Julio Correia, the Inquiry has remaining, unanswered concerns regarding the involvement of the following agents in this transfer: Mike Morris (FLA), Eugenio Botas (FLA) and Francis Martin (FLA) and the possible involvement of Craig Allardyce.
The Inquiry remains concerned at the conflict of interest that it believes existed between Craig Allardyce, his father Sam Allardyce (the then manager at Bolton Wanderers) and the Club itself.
The Inquiry recommends that The FA continue with their investigation into these matters, assisted by the considerable information gathered by Quest. The Inquiry also understands that the Bolton Chairman, Mr Gartside, is prepared to share the results of the Club’s own detailed investigation with the football authorities to assist in this matter. We welcome this development.
3. The Inquiry has still not been able to sign off a further two transfers (in addition to the one listed above) involving Francis Martin.
In the transfer of Albert Luque (to Newcastle Utd FC), the Licensed Agent acting on the Club’s behalf was Eugenio Botas. However, the Inquiry still has unanswered questions relating to possible payments made by Francis Martin who Newcastle officials believed was working for the selling club.
In the transfer of Michael Essien (to Chelsea FC), again there is no evidence to suggest any irregular payments to Club officials or the player, who all co-operated fully with the Inquiry providing full access to documentation (including bank statements) as requested.
However, questions remain unanswered as to the relationship between Francis Martin (buying Club agent), Mike Morris, Fabien Piveteau (player’s advisor) and Thomas Belsoeur (FLA).
Again, the Inquiry recommends that The FA and FIFA continue to investigate these matters in the light of the substantial information already obtained by Quest.
4. The following three other transfers remain uncleared:
i) Emre Belozoglu (Emre) (to Newcastle United FC)
ii) Jean Alain Boumsong (to Newcastle United FC)
iii) Amady Faye (to Newcastle United FC)
Again we have found no evidence to suggest any irregular payments by or to Club officials relating to the above transfers and Newcastle United officials co-operated fully with the Inquiry and gave full access to documentation (including bank statements) as requested.
However, there remain inconsistencies in evidence provided by Graeme Souness (a former manager of the Club) and Kenneth Shepherd (apparently acting in an undefined role but not as a Club official) as to their respective roles in transfer negotiations.
In relation to i) above, the Inquiry is not prepared to clear this transfer as it has been unable to obtain the co-operation of the lead agent, Ahmet Bulut (FLA).
In relation to ii) and iii) above, these transfers involved payments to Willie McKay (FLA) and, despite a degree of co-operation from Mr McKay, the Inquiry is still awaiting clarification in relation to various documents provided by him.
5. Willie McKay acted for the selling Club, Auxerre, in the transfer of Benjani Mwaruwari (into Portsmouth FC) and for the Portsmouth FC themselves in the transfer in of Alliou Cisse and, for the same reason as above, the Inquiry is not prepared to clear these transfers at this stage. In relation to the first of these, the Inquiry also has identified concerns regarding the role of Teni Yerima (FLA) and Ralph N’Komo in the transfer negotiations.
In relation to points 4 and 5, again the Inquiry recommends that The FA and FIFA continue to investigate this matter in light of the information obtained by Quest and that further powers are used to ensure co-operation.
6. There is one other transfer that the Inquiry has been asked by another regulatory authority not to specify in order that its investigations should not be prejudiced by revealing the identity of the transfer. The Inquiry, of course, is compelled to respect this request.
7. In the course of the Inquiry a further matter has become evident that the Inquiry believes should be considered by the Football Authorities. Willie McKay provided information that he had registered a race horse in the name of Harry Redknapp. Harry Redknapp has confirmed that this could well have happened though it was a very unsuccessful horse that resulted in no material gain or reward for him. There is no evidence that this transaction is related to any specific transfer, more a consequence of a long term personal association. Inquiries into this matter should continue.


62 thoughts on “Bung Buster Report

  1. ‘Boateng’s position must be considered vulnerable’
    Maybe in centre midfield but for me, he was the best right back I saw play for us last season, maybe this would be his new position and solve the right back problem!!!
    ‘O’Neil plus cash for The Yak’
    No way, keep the Yak and pay cash for o’neil. It would be a mistake to sell a goal scorer to a team that is looking to challenge for the same positions as us in the league next season.
    I’m hoping our spectacular signing will be Fabregas as he has everything we are looking for. However id like to see Everton come knocking for Downing again and us to see how serious they are by asking for cash plus Cahill and Arteta, then tell them they cant have Downing and put in a bid for those 2 players.
    Anyone got any ideas when the new badge is getting put on the outside of the stadium as drove past today and the old one is still up.

  2. Anthony
    A lot of onus is going to be placed on the head of young Cattermole, which will do him the world of good. Perhaps with an injection of pace, this may just be the spur his game desperately needs.
    He must remove this constant face of aggression from his role, because it is both affecting his game and bringing about unnecessary Yellow cards.
    Our local lads will blend it well with this new dawn in my opinion. All we need to do now is buy a Mad Bull, who can play in front of our Mad Dog to feed our French and Turkish Terriers
    Looks good on paper to me!

  3. ian gill, pace,energy and aggression seems to be the buzz words around teesside at the moment. Does pace give you goals? Just ask sheringham as an example.
    Kamara at west brom is fast but never really did it in the top flight. Stikers who lack the natural ability to score compensate by being more aggressive.
    Alan smith is very much the sort of player who the teachers love in the school team ‘get stuck in lad,come on chase the ball,close him down’.
    I am worried if smith is being signed to replace yakubu or viduka. smith scores a 3rd of the goals that viduka and yakubu score. that is a worry.
    if we have strikers who dont score many then the rest have to come from the midfield. you cant make someone a natural goalscorer its something they are born with

  4. Now it definitely has ‘all gone quiet over there’.
    I think it was Oscar Wilde who said that there was only one thing worse than being talked about and that was not being talked about.
    Even the club has been moved to try to quell the rumours caused by – as ever – not promptly nailing the signature of Tuncay.
    Why not get him over here, medicalled and signed, subject to visa and work permit, while the other paperwork is being progressed?
    Even if it isn’t a problem as such, what is stopping another club stepping in – alerted by the rumours of problems – and nicking him?
    Something else that is a little concerning appears in today’s Gazette about Tuncay – ‘The former Fenerbache striker is the club’s top signing of the Summer.’
    Not ‘…..of the Summer SO FAR’.
    Does this mean that we are about to get a revisionist view of what is ‘spectacular’ since Gibbo said what he said after Woody, Aliadiere and Tuncay were, allegedly, in place so he must be referring to other people.
    At least he must have been when he said it.

  5. Ian Gill
    I totally agree with your post, regarding our long term midfield problems.
    However, its cure must be now

.. and not in a very sad January.
    Top teams sneak many an away game 1 -0, due to their midfielders driving forward,and we too, must have that in pole position.
    I remain unconcerned about our strikers, because I have every faith in their game and more so their overall attitudes.
    The money or deal, which completes Yakabu’s imminent departure, is now the key.

  6. Alf
    Totally agree, pace isnt everything nor is aggression but there is nothing wrong with addressing some of our faults.
    All I have highlighted are problems we know about. Goal scoring isnt just about running and jumping faster as proved by Viduka when he was fit and in the mood.
    If you can get both that is great but there are not many about. Composure is essential in front of goal and players have it or they dont. That is probably Yaks biggest failing.
    Midfielders have to be strong, pacey and have technique. You can manage with one of the first two missing if you have technique. Keane was never pacey but I would settle for him at his peak.
    And the team needs balance. Cant see anything wrong in the shopping list, the problem is bringing it in at the right price.

  7. Yak does have composure in front of goal. have you seen how calm he is at penalties and how many he has missed?very few. more composed than smith thats for sure.
    Whats the point in strikers tearing around closing down defenders and being all agressive if it means they arn’t concentrating on scoring. grerat striker don’t do anything all game apart from score as thats what they are there for.
    I agree about midfield, but have we signed anyone to play in midfield to be strong, pacey and have technique.

  8. Alf,
    I think Yakubu is a confidence striker. When he is scoring, his composure in front of goal is second to none. After a couple of games without a goal, he is severely lacking in it. Many strikers around are confidence strikers, Michael Owen being one of them and Robbie Fowler, probably the most gifted natural striker this country has produced.
    I am not sure about the great strikers do nothing all game comment. Alan Shearer was a great striker and he worked hard for the team. Thierry Henry is a great striker and he works hard for his team too. Marco Van Basten, one of the best strikers who has ever lived had a great work ethic.
    I think it depends on the striker. Some are lazy so and so’s who think they have a god given right to walk into any team, and then there are those who work their socks off for whoever they play for.
    Alan Smith is the latter, his work ethic is fantastic and he would play anywhere on the park if you asked him to. Granted, he is sometimes a bit hot headed and over eager, but so what, I would rather have that than someone who stands in the centre waiting for the ball to come to do something special, a la Viduka.
    I would welcome smudger to the Riverside, he would bring to our strike force something we havent had for a very long time!

  9. I read in one of the papers today with some amusement that Allardyce is fearful of losing Owen & Martins as they both have release clauses and are agitating for a move.
    I thought Big Sam would sort the barcodes out and maybe he will but he has certainly got a task on his hands.
    Man City also seem to be in disarray , I can’t imagine being bought by someone under a cloud like that can be to re-assuring neither can the news that Sven is your next manger be too exciting.
    The papers are full of stories of which club is tracking which star etc etc. I know Boro still need two or three players but we’ve made a good start and seem to be in good shape, i think its easy for us to forget that other clubs have the same problems and many are a lot worse off.

  10. Alf
    Why do you have to argue? We are saying the same thing.
    On the Yak however he does miss quite a few in front of goal, far more than Viduka, especially as Scott says when his confidence drops.
    On the Alan Smith front have I once posted we should buy him?
    At the end of my posting I said it was a shopping list and the problem was getting them in at the right price.

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