Portsmouth manager claims corruption investigation “concerns other people”.
|Harry Redknapp: ‘Infuriated’ [GALLO/GETTY]|
Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp angrily denied any wrongdoing, a day after he was arrested in a police investigation of alleged corruption in English football, while also blasting police for the manner in which they handled the affair.
Redknapp and Portsmouth chief executive Peter Storrie were among five people arrested Wednesday on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and false accounting as part of a probe into corruption in player transfer dealings.
All five were released on bail until February, and Redknapp returned to the club’s training ground to prepare his team for Saturday’s Premier League home game against Everton.
“This has nothing whatsoever do with me,” Redknapp said.
“I still feel I was only called in because I have a high profile, I add a bit of a profile to the investigation.
“What an agent does with his player has nothing to do with me.”
Also arrested were former Portsmouth chairman Milan Mandaric, who is now at Leicester; former Portsmouth player Amdy Faye and his agent, Willie McKay.
The probe is believed to be centered on Faye’s transfers from Auxerre to Portsmouth in August 2003 and from Portsmouth to Newcastle in January 2005.
“The whole crux of the meeting was the fact that an agent had been paid an agent’s fee and had paid some of the money to the player,” Redknapp said.
“That was the top and bottom of the issue, the player and the football agent.”
“I was wondering what I was doing there,” he said.
“I’m not involved in what an agent and a player does. I’m not involved.”
Bitter and disappointed
Redknapp said he was bitter over the way police raided his house in the early hours of Wednesday.
He was away at the time, returning from a football match in Germany, but his wife was at home and “absolutely petrified.”
“I was particularly disappointed that police should come knocking at my door at 6:30 a.m. with photographers from a well-known tabloid newspaper,” Redknapp said.
“I’m bitterly disappointed. Me and my family were deeply hurt by the whole situation.”
Redknapp, who was questioned for several hours Wednesday at Chichester police station, said police took away a laptop computer from his home that he had given to his wife as a Christmas present and had been rarely used.
Redknapp said he spoke with Portsmouth players and staff on Thursday about the situation before the training session.
Paul Martin, the lawyer representing Redknapp and Storrie, said the two were cooperating with detectives.
“The inquiries do not relate to either of those individuals, they relate to entirely different individuals,” Martin said.
“They are ongoing investigations in relation to those other individuals, and for that reason they (Redknapp and Storrie) are unable to comment further, and there is nothing that they can discuss.”
Redknapp had been considered a potential leading contender for the England coaching job after Steve McClaren was fired following England’s failure to qualify for next year’s European Championship.
Mandaric’s aides confirmed his arrest and said he was cooperating with the inquiry.