Claims heard that Neil Warnock made players pay to play at Palace

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A committee of MP’s has been told of claims that Cardiff boss Neil Warnock made players pay to play while in charge at Crystal Palace.

The Bluebirds appointed Warnock on October 5th, but these claims were made in tweets that were quickly deleted by Palace player Jason Puncheon in 2014, and were raised today at a hearing on football governance by MP Damian Collins.

Collins, chair of the parliamentary culture, media and sport committee, was questioning FA chairman Greg Clarke and director of strategy Robert Sullivan, and was speaking using parliamentary privilege, which allows politicians to raise allegations without fear of legal redress.

He said: “In January 2014 it was reported that Jason Puncheon, the Crystal Palace player, made allegations on Twitter regarding Neil Warnock – his former manager.

“The tweets have been deleted but they are available online and I’ll read out the relevant bit.

“He [Puncheon] said, ‘What I won’t accept is an opinion from a man who’s crooked and ruining the game. The man who signs players, gives them extra wages and appearance bonuses to make sure they pay him to get into the team or on the bench. The fact that he can even talk about training is shocking. He was never there’.”

Warnock has never commented on the claims, with it understood he felt it was dealt with when Puncheon was fined £15,000 by the FA and apologised for the comments.

However, Clarke asked why the FA had not contacted Puncheon to ask him why he made the comments, rather than fining him, and replied saying it had not been his job at the time, as he only succeeded Greg Dyke in August.

Sullivan, also giving evidence, added that there was no “hard evidence” to take further action but Collins said: “I think it would be pretty poor if someone has gone public and they don’t have any contact from the FA asking why they have they made this allegation.”


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