Tommy Wright, football manager, was caught on camera allegedly discussing corrupt practices in football, but a court was told he was “only joking, to break the ice”.
Mr Wright has been charged with accepting a bribe whilst talking about the “the spicy and dark” world of football finance in meetings about talent spotting. However he stated at Southwark Crown Court that he was only trying to “break the ice” with his “nervous” comments.
The 53-year-old formerly Barnsley Assistant manager is accused of accepting a £5,000 bung from a fictitious Far East sports company set up as part of a sting operation carried out in 2016.
He faces two counts of accepting a bribe, while Mr Dax Price and Mr Giuseppe Pagliara, both football agents, are also charged with two counts of paying and arranging bribes.
In covert recordings by an undercover reporter, Mr Price and Mr Pagliara allegedly discussed bribing Wright to get him to encourage his players to sign to their sports agency. The practice, known as third party ownership, is strictly against FA regulations.
Mr Wright claimed that the money was simply a consultancy fee for his professional opinion on players he had knowledge off. He admitted he had been “very excited” at the prospect of the consortium investing in Barnsley, but denied his comments showed he was corrupt.
The trial continues.
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