GARRY Monk echoed Leeds United’s thoughts that the Daily Telegraph were on to a “non story” with their undercover investigation into Massimo Cellino - but admitted corruption in football as a whole needed stamping out by whatever methods it takes.
Whites chairman Cellino was filmed by the Telegraph offering an investment deal as a way of avoiding Football Association rules on third-party ownership of players.
The video, which was published by the Telegraph as part of the same football investigation which led to the downfall of former England manager Sam Allardyce this week, shows Cellino proposing to sell a stake in Leeds to a fictitious investment firm with the promise that money would be paid back to them in sell-on fees earned through future transfers.
Leeds dismissed the Telegraph’s report as a “non-story”, insisting that Cellino had breached no regulations during the conversation, and Monk backed the club’s statement saying the Whites and Cellino had “no case to answer”.
But speaking in wider terms, Monk declared that the Telegraph were right to continue on with their investigations and undercover reporting, admitting corruption in English football needed wiping out completely, just two days after England boss Allardyce lost his job.
Asked for his views on the Telegraph’s allegations against Cellino, Monk said: “I have not spoken to the owner. We have had a really busy period and we have had a lot of games.
“We had one on Tuesday and we have been back in preparing for the game on the weekend.
“But I think the club said all they needed to say in that situation - they feel that there is no story or case to answer.
“I think it has been made very clear in the club’s statements so in terms of that side of it I think the club have made the appropriate answer.”
Asked if he felt football had a problem with corruption in general, Monk reasoned: “What I will say is that if these things are proven right, if all these cases and certain situations like this are proven right then it needs to be cleaned. It needs to be wiped out of football. What’s important to me is the integrity of football.
“I have grown up as a young kid watching football, being a fan on the stands, I have been lucky enough to have a professional career as well within it, I have seen every single league, the struggles and the highs of every single league and the biggest part of that it is the integrity of what we do and the honesty in which we do it and we have always been very conscious of that in this country.
“If any of these things are proven right then I think it needs to be for sure wiped out completely, taken care of with the right authorities making the right decisions and making sure that we have our integrity as a nation. As football itself, it needs to be taken care of.
“We all have that responsibility - managers, agents, fans, owners, everyone that is involved in football - we have a responsibility to make sure that this game is held in the highest regard.”
The Telegraph’s investigations have led to the national team’s manager losing his job after just one game in charge.
Former Leeds United star Tommy Wright, assistant boss of United’s Saturday’s Championship visitors Barnsley, was also sacked on Thursday after he too was named in a Telegraph investigation alleging corruption in football.
Their report included footage of Wright apparently accepting money in return for allegedly helping persuade the Championship club to sign players.
The departure of Allardyce from his role followed the Telegraph’s revelations from an investigation claiming the 61-year-old offered advice on how to “get around” rules on player transfers.
Allardyce is also alleged to have used his role to negotiate a deal worth £400,000 to represent a Far East firm.
Asked for a view on the highest profile casualty of all - Allardyce - Monk replied: “I am aware of the situation but I haven’t seen transcripts and everything and all of those details. I think to really give the most honest opinion is unfair when I don’t have all the facts.
“It’s a situation for everyone else to deal with at this moment in time but if all of these things and it’s not about one particular person - it’s about the situation - but if all of these things are proven right after the proper investigations then it needs to be wiped out of football completely. The honesty side of it, the integrity of the game, it’s our responsibility to uphold that, everyone.
“I think everything is a bit unclear at this moment in time and anyway there’s apparently more things to come so let’s wait and we will all discuss after that situation.”
Giving his view on undercover reporting in general, Monk reasoned: “I haven’t seen all of these situations, honestly.
“I have obviously heard of them and heard discussions - I haven’t seen them myself - but all I care about is that whatever it takes, if these situations are proven right, through any method, then it’s the right thing because it’s the right thing for football. That’s all that matters - that it’s the right thing for football.
“So let’s see, let’s let everyone do the right thing, let’s let the right authorities take care of these situations and do the right investigations and we will see at the end of it.
“The most important bit of the football is the integrity of it, especially in this country.
“I think it’s the most important thing that we need to get right.”