Once again, it is a private investigation that has exposed how easy it is for people interested in enriching themselves through sport to try to flout the rules.
It is incredible that an England football manager would enter into negotiations with people he didn’t know, to provide insights and guidance over how they could get around regulations banning the third-party ownership of players. It would have been a clear conflict of interest for an England manager to have entered into such an agreement.
Yet The Telegraph’s investigations reveal a greater malaise, one in which the football authorities seem powerless to enforce the rules. This malaise is by no means limited to the transfer market; it includes the ownership of clubs themselves.
Take the case of Leeds United. The Football League was unable to stop Massimo Cellino taking control of the club, even though he had previously been convicted for a fraud related offence. With Birmingham City, its owner Carson Yeung was made to give up control following his conviction for money laundering in Hong Kong, but was then able to transfer the management of the club to his son and other close business associates.
Experience tells us that a bad owner seldom has the long term interests of a club at heart. Such clubs are often left near bankrupt and broken, as in the case of Portsmouth and Plymouth, or face being driven out of their home city because they can’t afford to play in the stadium that was built for them, as has happened to Coventry City.