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Three sentenced for paying and accepting bribes in football

An assistant manager at a football club and two football agents have been sentenced for accepting and paying bribes to facilitate the transfer of players at Barnsley Football Club, following an investigation by the City of London Police’s Fraud Squad.

Today (Friday 17 January 2020), at Southwark Crown Court, the three men received the following:

- Football agent Giuseppe Pagliara, 64, of Higher Croft, Whitefield, Manchester: Two years imprisonment, suspended for two years. 300 hours community work, 7pm-7am electronically tagged curfew for four months. 
- Football agent Dax Price, 48, of Susans Lane, Upchurch, Kent: 18 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months. 250 hours community work, 8pm-6am electronically tagged curfew for three months.
- Football coach Thomas Wright, 53, of Dark Lane, Barnsley: 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months. Ordered to pay £5,000 to the Telegraph within 28 days and £3,000 in court costs.

A month earlier (Monday 16 December 2019) Pagliara and Price were found guilty of one count of paying and facilitating a bribe and one count of offering a bribe. Wright was found guilty of one count of accepting a bribe and one count of requesting a bribe.

DC Chris Glover from the City of London Police’s Fraud Squad said:

“This has been a long and complex investigation, but today is a significant result for the City of London Police, and all of policing, when it comes to investigating bribery. This case is the first in the UK relating to corruption in the football industry and shows how offending of this extremely serious nature can lead to significant prison sentences. 

“We are pleased justice has now been done and would like to take this opportunity to thank the Telegraph, Football Association, Crown Prosecution Service and Barnsley Football Club for their assistance with this case.” 

In September 2016, the City of London Police’s Fraud Squad was provided information by national newspaper, the Daily Telegraph, about various football agents who were thought to be facilitating bribes with individuals at football clubs, between 4 May 2016 and 30 September 2016. The information was reviewed by detectives and a criminal investigation was launched in November 2016, into the dealings of Pagliara, Price, and Wright.

The three men were interviewed on a voluntary basis between December 2016 and April 2017. They were then charged with bribery offences on 31 August 2018 after detectives reviewed over a hundred hours of video and audio recordings made by undercover journalists. These showed all three men were involved in offering and taking bribes for the placing of players at Barnsley Football Club; additionally, Wright supplied confidential information regarding the contracts of players already at the club.

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