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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

FA Inquiry Says Graham Is Guilty

LONDON -- Former Arsenal manager George Graham was found guilty of misconduct in an English Football Association investigation into allegations of illegal payments.


The FA disciplinary commission delayed announcing its punishment on Wednesday, so Graham, sacked by the premier league club last February, faced an anxious wait of up to 48 hours to learn if he has a future in the game.


The 50-year-old Scot was alleged to have received ?425,000 ($680,000) from Norwegian agent Rune Hauge after the transfers to Arsenal of Norwegian Pal Lydersen and Danish international John Jensen.


The players' Norwegian clubs, IK Start and Brondby, said the deals were worth considerably less than Arsenal agreed to pay, with the difference paid to Interclub Ltd., a Guernsey-based company linked to Hauge. Interclub then made two payments to Graham's bank accounts.


However, Graham always insisted the money, which he paid to Arsenal before he was fired in February, was an unsolicited gift, and Hauge himself attended the hearing to give evidence on Graham's behalf.


"The commission was satisfied that when he received the money he must have known it was connected with the transfers," an FA spokesman said.


"But the commission was not satisfied that he asked for the money or negotiated the transfers to obtain any personal gain."


Graham could be banned or fined, or both.


"I'm bitterly disappointed with the verdict," Graham said.


"I always said the payments were unsolicited and this has been proved. The commission decided that the receipt of the payments constituted misconduct."


Graham's lawyers lodged a plea for leniency and Leeds' Howard Wilkinson, chairman of the League Managers' Association, spoke on his behalf.


Graham brought Arsenal six trophies in his eight years in charge, but left in disgrace after the club decided he had not acted in its best interests following the allegations of transfer irregularities.


As a player, he was an elegant midfield member of the Arsenal side which completed the English league and FA Cup double in 1971.


Graham, who earned 12 full caps for Scotland, played for Arsenal between 1966 and 1972 and succeeded Don Howe as manager in May 1986 after four years at another London club, Millwall.


The commission heard six witnesses, included Graham.


"An FA commission has spent 18 hours over the past three days considering a charge of misconduct against the former Arsenal manager George Graham," David Davies, FA director of public affairs, said.


"The commission has found the charge of misconduct proved."


Davies said the plea for leniency had been heard. "Penalty will be notified to Mr. Graham in writing within 48 hours. Written reasons will follow," he added.


"Ultimately we have had a serious case dealt with in three days by a process unique in football," Davies said.


"The FA expects further reports from the premier league inquiry, certainly by the start of the new season, now little more than a month away.


"If those reports demand disciplinary action, then be quite certain, action there will be.


"There will be no scapegoats. Our commitment is to stamp out financial wrong-doing in whatever form it takes."