Former Pompey boss Harry Redknapp said players at a team he managed gambled on the result of one of their matches – the Daily Telegraph has claimed.
Redknapp, who led the Blues to FA Cup glory in 2008, says he was unaware at the time that betting on the outcome of the match was going on and denies any wrongdoing.
The Daily Telegraph, whose undercover reporters filmed Redknapp without his knowledge as part of an investigation into British football, does not identify the match or players in question, or the year in which the fixture occurred.
There is no suggestion Redknapp was referring to an incident that took place while he was in the Fratton Park hot seat between 2002 and 2004 and then 2005 and 2008.
Betting on football by current professional players in England is prohibited by the Football Association, with a worldwide ban on doing so enforced since August 2014, toughening up existing rules.
The newspaper claims Redknapp’s team were odds against to win a match but secured a comfortable victory.
Redknapp, who also guided Pompey to their highest Premier League finish in 2007-08 before leaving for Spurs in October 2008, is shown saying in a video that the opposition ‘murdered us early on’.
He then added: ‘At half-time I took (a player) off and put, erm, (another player on) and they’re all looking at me, all the lads, ’cause I didn’t know they’d had a bet, ’cause they was (sic) all choked, they’d all had a spread bet and everything.’
As well as Pompey and Spurs, the 69-year-old has managed a string of teams during a long career, including Bournemouth, West Ham, QPR and Southampton.
His last job was a brief spell in charge of the Jordan national team earlier this year.
The Telegraph says Redknapp met with undercover reporters, who were representing a fictitious Far East firm, and football agents Dax Price and Pino Pagliara at a London private members’ club.
When contacted later by the newspaper, and told that betting by players was against the rules, Redknapp reportedly replied: ‘Oh would it? Oh, okay. But not at that time I don’t think it was, was it? They weren’t betting on the other team, they were having a bet on their own team.’
Asked about his remarks about the players gambling on the game, the Telegraph claims he told the newspaper: ‘Unbeknownst to me. No, not a spread bet.
‘It wasn’t a spread bet. I think they had a bet on the game, but it wasn’t, that was nothing to do with me...after the game I’d heard the rumour the lads had had a bet that day...I’m not in control of whether they go and have a bet or not.’
There is no suggestion Redknapp may have broken the law.
It is also not known whether he informed the FA about the gambling.
Price is quoted during the filmed members’ club conversation as saying a player, who is not identified, had been in touch about the match in question and urged him to bet on a victory for Redknapp’s side.
Price reportedly said the player from Redknapp’s club ‘phoned me and said remortgage your house ’cause the odds were mental, they were 5/2 at the time’.
Price, according to the Telegraph, also claimed players on the losing side had bet on Redknapp’s team winning the match.