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Premier League accused of influencing bribes report

Lord Stevens headed a nine-month investigation into allegations that Premiership managers and agents had accepted illegal payments to facilitate transfers.

india Updated: Dec 21, 2006 14:54 IST

The English Premier League faces accusations of putting pressure on Lord Stevens to tone down his report about corruption in football.

Lord Stevens headed a nine-month investigation into allegations that Premiership managers and agents had accepted illegal payments to facilitate transfers.

His recomendations, made public on Wednesday, included claims that the English Football Association were not able to police transfers effectively, while offering little criticism of the Premier League.

However, a copy of a letter sent to all the top division's chairmen hints that the Premier League asked former Metropolitan Police commissioner Stevens to listen to the clubs' concerns over the report.

The memo from Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore, obtained by Channel 4 news revealed, "In respect of Stevens' recommendations we did feed back in the strongest terms the sentiments expressed by clubs in our meeting on the 9th of November."

"It would appear that these have been taken on board... save for the concern regarding the agents of managers not being allowed to act for players at the same club. Lord Stevens was 'not for turning' on this and we will have to consider it in due course," Scudamore said in the memo.

The Premier League insists there was no attempt to shape the report and a league spokesman said, "It is an independent report that has not been shaped in any way or any form by the Premier League."

A senior source did confirm that the clubs saw Stevens' observations last month and that, as a result, advice was given to him about what was technically possible.