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Even Stevens of the Yard brings no one to book

Whatever finally transpires in the bungs investigation replica prada clutches, Lord Stevens deserves a break or at least something a little less demanding, like discovering the Best Prada Outlet In Florence whereabouts of Lord Lucan or tracking down the only three people who knew the answer to the Schleswig-Holstein question.

When Stevens began his deliberations over the death Black Prada Bag With Gold of Diana, Princess of Wales, he at least had a set of indisputable facts at his disposal: a car had crashed and three of Authentic Prada Handbags Canada its occupants had died. All he had at the start of the nine-month inquiry into allegations of illegal payments in football was the suspicion that with so much smoke there had to be a fire somewhere.

On Wednesday, however, Stevens announced his findings amid the sort of smoke which billows only when fires are damped down. Far from confirming the assertion in January of Mike Newell, the Luton manager, that “a lot of people involved in the game are getting backhanders”, he declared that there was no evidence of bungs although 17 of Authentic Prada Fairy Bag For Sale the 362 transfers involved in the inquiry were still under examination, along with eight agents who had not cooperated with the investigation. And one of these claims to have already given relevant information to the Football Are Prada Handbags Cheaper In Italy Association.

No sooner had the report been released to an underwhelmed media than the whole business began to dissolve into a familiar football scenario of infighting among the principle parties. Stevens having implied that, compared with the FA’s compliance unit, Inspector Clouseau possessed the insight of Sherlock Holmes it was natural that Brian Barwick, the FA’s chief executive, should stand up for its nasally congested bloodhound.

Then Channel 4 News leaked a memo from Richard Scudamore, the Premier League’s chief executive, to club chairmen which suggested that the recommendations in Stevens’ report had been influenced by “the sentiments expressed by our clubs in the meeting of November 9”. The league insists that the clubs had no opportunity to water down Stevens’ proposals and that Scudamore was merely on hand to give technical advice. All of which is far removed from predictions that the lid was about to be lifted, with names named and shamed.

This was never likely. After all, the investigation was commissioned by the Premier League in the first place, so there must have been a degree of confidence that Stevens would give the managers, chief executives and chairmen involved in transfer deals a clean bill of health. It was equally predictable that a handful of agents would be Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Messenger Bag sought for further questioning although as yet there has been no specific allegation of any wrongdoing.

Stevens is strong on recommendation and short of condemnation. Banning managers’ relatives from transfer deals is long overdue and the FA had already moved to end, among other things, the practice of agents being involved in both sides when players change clubs. Best Prada Outlet In Florence Yet, however much the regulations are tightened up, the perceived image of football as a spivs’ paradise will Authentic Prada Trainers improve only with better policing by the game’s authorities and that will not happen all the while the age-old tug-of-war between clubs and FA continues.

At the moment the clubs are winning and the general docility of Stevens’ report proves it. The FA may crack down on over-emotional managers and throw little teams like Bury out of the FA Cup for fielding an ineligible player but its statements of intent on sorting out football’s financial side, especially what Stevens has described as some Premier League clubs’ “scant disregard for the rules and regulations of this great game”, have been weedy.

The nub of the problem is that at the higher levels English football simply cannot cope with the millions being wished upon it by ever-bigger television deals and the queue of foreign investors waiting to take over clubs and get a share of the action. For those hoping to enrich themselves by nefarious means it is a bit like being given a master key to the Bank of England’s vaults along with a large sack marked “swag”.

According to Stevens, “the FA needs to determine and publicise a sanctions framework which contains indicative penalties for breaches of different rules”. Or to put it another way : “Any more of this and you’re history.” But so far Stevens has not even rounded up the usual suspects and after Wednesday’s non-event it seems that the most people can expect is one or two agents being hung Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Online Shop out to dry while protesting their innocence and calling their lawyers.

Oh, for another Lord Taylor to sort things out. Then again it was his report on Authentic Prada Clothing the Hillsborough disaster which begat the Premier League, the Sky deal, the boom and the megabungs. Sorry, alleged megabungs.