Football Association chairman Greg Clarke says Sam Allardyce “let us down badly” during his 67-day England reign but defended the decision to pay the manager a settlement reported to run to seven figures.
In an appearance before the House of Commons’ Culture, Media and Sport Committee on Monday, Clarke also insisted that the FA had done sufficient due diligence before appointing Allardyce in the summer.
Allardyce, 61, left his post last month just one game into his tenure after discussing ways around FA rules forbidding third-party ownership of players with undercover reporters posing as potential business clients.
Clarke, who only took up his job in August, said it had been agreed within the FA that Allardyce’s tenure would be ended abruptly because he was “in breach of his duties”.
He also questioned the wisdom of Allardyce’s apparent willingness just weeks into the job to strike a £400,000 keynote speaking deal with representatives of an Asian company who later transpired to be reporters.
“I think he let us down badly because in the end we want a manage whose sole responsibility is to win games for England,” said Clarke. “So his contract was terminated by mutual consent.”
Clarke said Allardyce’s pay-off – reported to be £1m – was subject to a privacy agreement and had been drawn up by the FA’s lawyers and a QC representing the former Sunderland, Newcastle and West Ham boss.
He added: “Any right-thinking person would rather spend money on grassroots facilities but we will always obey the law.”
MPs quizzed ex-Football League and Cable and Wireless chief Clarke on the background checks done before hiring Allardyce, whose conduct in transfer dealings was questioned by a BBC Panorama programme in 2006. He has strongly denied the allegations.
“I wasn’t there because I have only been in this post for five weeks but I am assured by board members that they did do due diligence on Mr Allardyce,” Clarke said.
“Significant inquiries were made. We spoke to his former clubs and the League Managers Association. No issues were raised.”