Manchester United Legendary manager, Alex Ferguson has been alleged of fixing a football match with a corrupt agent who gave him a £30,000 gold Rolex, a court heard today.
This claim was made by Giuseppe ‘Pino’ Pagliara, 64, a football agent, to an undercover reporter posing as a businesswoman looking to invest in football players, jurors were told.
Pagliara is on trial for bribery at Southwark Crown Court alongside assistant head coach of Barnsley Football Club Tommy Wright and fellow football agent Dax Price. All three deny the charges.
He said the legendary manager fixed a champions league game against Italian giants Juventus and alleged Ferguson pocketed money from transfer deals, Southwark Crown Court heard.
Pagliara and fellow agent Dax Price allegedly tried to “impress” Claire Newell by arranging meetings with prominent footballing figures such as Steve McLaren, Harry Redknapp, and manager Neil Warnock, prosecuter Brian O’Neill QC told Southwark Crown Court.
O’Neil said Pagliara claimed that “99 percent of the people in football if they weren’t in football, would be selling second-hand cars.”
Pagliara was said to be“furious” with Redknapp for suggesting the reporter should buy a football club instead of using a legal loophole to get around a ban on third-party ownership of players in England during a meeting in July 2016, the court heard
Describing another meeting, Mr O’Neill said: “Towards the end of the meeting Pagliara launched into what could only be described as a diatribe of Sir Alex Ferguson, accusing him of having conspired with Pagliara to fix the result of a football match between Juventus, a club which Pagliara was associated with, and Manchester United in the Champions League for which Pagliara had thanked him with a gold 30 grand Rolex watch.
“Pagliara went on to accuse Sir Alex Ferguson of having taken money as part of transfer deals. He claimed that he had paid Ferguson before.”
He added: “To the outside world, the plan being espoused by Mr. Pagliara, it would look as though the player in question was owned by the football club in Belgium when actually the player was owned by a third party.
“And that, said Pagliara, was the plan that he wanted to end upbringing to England because that’s where the money is.
“He went to speak about placing players in Italian clubs where he had various connections before moving them to England.
“‘You have to have an offshore account somewhere and that’s where we do it. For example Antonio Conte [then head coach at Chelsea[ has winked at us and said, “yeah, I want that player, is there a little coffee for me Pino?”’
“A little coffee, she said. ‘Yeah, that’s what he’ll say: yeah of course there is and now I’m negotiating a coffee as well and we are not talking about a double espresso.’
“He went on to say he would disguise it as a consultancy agreement by another trusted individual.
“‘Claire, I’ve opened so many Swiss bank accounts for managers that you would not believe’.”