Barnsley suspend assistant boss Tommy Wright after “bung” allegations

Tommy Wright
Tommy Wright

Barnsley have suspended assistant head coach Tommy Wright following allegations that he accepted a £5,000 cash bung from a fake Far Eastern firm.

Wright was this evening named by the Daily Telegraph - along with Queens Park Rangers manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino - as part of their investigation into corruption in football.

In a short statement, Barnsley said: “Barnsley FC is aware of allegations made by the Telegraph against Tommy Wright.

“The club has today suspended Tommy pending an internal investigation into these allegations.”

Wright ended his playing career at Doncaster Rovers in 2000 and also had a spell at Chesterfield as assistant manager and caretaker manager.

The 50-year-old was filmed allegedly receiving a bung of £5,000 in order to help a fake Far Eastern company that wanted to profit from transfers.

Wright reportedly accepted bundles of £20 notes handed to him in an envelope during a meeting in Leeds last month.

Despite denying any wrongdoing, Paul Heckingbottom’s assistant has been suspended whilst the club look into the allegations.

Wright allegedly agreed to help the agent sign up Reds’ players and to recommend that the club sign other players represented by the consortium.

Wright was introduced to undercover reporters by two football agents and sat down for a ‘series of meetings’, according to the Daily Telegraph. Barnsley players Alfie Mawson [now at Swansea City] and Conor Hourihane as well as Aberdeen player Joe Nuttall - none of whom knew they were the subject of the conversations - were discussed during the meeting in a hotel in Leeds.

It seems as if Wright has broken FA rules, which bans officials from accepting “any consideration” from intermediaries in return for “any benefit, service [or] favour” related to their work.

It looks like Wright could have created a conflict of interest between employers Barnsley and the fictitious Far East firm.

Instead of looking for the best possible players for the Oakwell club, the assistant manager could have put himself in a position to be accused of putting the firm’s interests ahead of Barnsley’s.

There are no suggestions the club were aware of either the payment Wright received or his involvement with the firm.

On Wednesday a spokesman for Wright told the Daily Telegraph: “Any suggested acts contrary to criminal law or those of the FA and Fifa are categorically denied.”

The accusations come a day after Sam Allardyce lost his ‘dream job’ as England boss after an undercover sting revealed he agreed to offer advice on how to “get around” rules on player transfers.

It is claimed former Chelsea player Hasselbaink agreed to fly to the Far East to talk to investors for £55,000 a time, whilst controversial Italian Cellino reportedly discussed a way that his club could get around Football Association rules on third-party ownership of players.