MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Sam Allardyce lost his job as England manager on Tuesday after one match and just 67 days in charge, paying the price for damaging comments to undercover reporters that were deemed “inappropriate” by the English Football Association.
British newspaper The Daily Telegraph published video of Allardyce appearing to offer advice on how to sidestep an outlawed player transfer practice and also to negotiate a 400,000-pound ($519,000) public-speaking contract while talking to reporters posing as businessmen.
The FA acted swiftly, holding emergency talks with Allardyce in London before announcing the end of his short-lived tenure by mutual consent.
“In light of the media allegations that we’ve seen,” FA chief executive Martin Glenn said, “we’ve concluded — and Sam’s agreed — that his behavior has been inappropriate and frankly not what is expected of an England manager.”
Asked about how Allardyce had reacted, Glenn added: “I know personally that he is deeply, deeply upset and deeply regrets the error of judgement, but I also think that he understands why The FA has had to take this tough decision.”
The 61-year-old Allardyce was hired to his dream job on July 22 and had a contract through 2018. He is the shortest-serving England manager.
“He accepts he made a significant error of judgment and has apologised,” the FA said in a statement. “However, due to the serious nature of his actions, the FA and Allardyce have mutually agreed to terminate his contract with immediate effect.
“This is not a decision that was taken lightly but the FA’s priority is to protect the wider interests of the game and maintain the highest standards of conduct in football,” the statement continued. “The manager of the England men’s senior team is a position which must demonstrate strong leadership and show respect for the integrity of the game at all times.”
Allardyce said he was “deeply disappointed” with the FA’s decision.
“Although it was made clear during the recorded conversations that any proposed arrangements would need the FA’s full approval,” Allardyce said, “I recognise I made some comments which have caused embarrassment.”
Gareth Southgate, the manager of England’s under-21 side, will take charge of the senior team’s next four matches — against Malta, Slovenia, Scotland and Spain — while the FA searches for a new coach. After opening World Cup qualifying with a victory in Slovakia, England plays Malta on Oct. 8 and Slovenia on Oct. 11.
The Telegraph published its undercover investigation in its Tuesday edition, under the front-page headline: “England manager for sale.”
Allardyce met people he reportedly thought were representatives of an Asian firm. In a grainy, edited video, he is recorded as saying it was “not a problem” to circumvent FA rules that stop third parties from owning the economic rights of players. FIFA has banned third-party ownership as a threat to the game’s integrity because investors force transfers to make a profit.
“You can still get around it,” the former Sunderland and West Ham manager said in the recording. “I mean obviously the big money’s here.”
Allardyce told the undercover reporters that his predecessor Roy Hodgson sent players “all to sleep.” Allardyce also mimicked Hodgson’s speech impediment.
He also questioned why Prince William, who is president of the FA, did not appear at last week’s London launch of the 2020 European Championship. Wembley Stadium will host the semifinals and final of the tournament.
“It would have been nice if he’d have turned up but he obviously had more, much busier things on,” Allardyce said in the recording.
FA chairman Greg Clarke, who held talks with Allardyce alongside Glenn, said the manager’s comments left his position “untenable.”