Chelsea signed Ross Barkley from Everton in a £15m deal, and Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson claims that he has contacted police to confirm if there were discrepancies in the move.
Barkley was close to making the switch to the Blues in the summer for a fee believed to be around £35m; however, he decided to cancel to the move just before the transfer window closed.
The 24-year-old finally made the switch this month to Stamford Bridge for a reported £15m on Friday, and the Mayor of Liverpool believes that there might be foul play involved in the move.
Anderson sent a letter to the FA and Premier League stating that he has contacted the relevant policing authorities to investigate ‘whether any fraud has taken place’, and also wants the footballing governing bodies to look into the matter and see if there were irregularities.
The letter reads:
Ross Barkley transfer
I write to you as a lifelong supporter of Everton Football Club – and as someone with a broader interest in the future of the game. The matter at hand is the recent transfer of Ross Barkley from Everton FC to Chelsea FC.
It was widely reported and confirmed by Mr Farhad Moshiri, a Director of EFC – in an interview on August 31 with Sky Sports News – that a deal had been reached with Chelsea for a fee of £35 million.
The fee was believed by many, including myself, to be a good deal and was based on him having just a year left of his contract.
However with less than an hour remaining on deadline day it was revealed that the deal had been rejected by Ross Barkley. At the time, it was stated by his agent that Ross had a hamstring injury and had decided to regain his fitness and then consider his options in January.
Since then, Ross Barkley has not played a single minute for Everton. The stated reason is that he has a groin strain. As I mentioned Mr Barkley had one year left on his contract with Everton and his saleable value at the time clearly was based on him having only this period left.
The January window opened and within hours Chelsea had tabled an offer to Everton of £15 million – some £20 million less than offered just four months earlier – a decrease in value of more than one million pounds a week. At best, this represents a very poor deal for Everton Football Club. At worst, it could be seen as a deliberate attempt to drive down a player’s value in the transfer market so as to benefit the player, his agent and the buying club.
As you well know, there is much speculation about the role of agents in transactions such as this and the impact it has on the modern game, including their role in the transfer of players.
I believe that the player has a contract and it should be honoured by both parties but clearly, the value of a player decreases as the contract runs down. It must surely concern you that the value of this player decreased so sharply, losing the selling club over £1 million per week, (plus the costs of the continuation of the player’s wages).
Had he left at the end of the season, it is clear he could then have departed on a free transfer and I accept that would and could have happened, costing Everton more. However, I believe that the circumstance of his transfer now warrants serious investigation.
There seems to me to be at least a public perception that collusion has taken place. While that may not be the case it is in your interest that this is at least looked at to reassure fans that transfers will be monitored more closely in future and that no individuals are benefitting inappropriately.
Football fans are often treated as the forgotten minority and the premier league would not be the fantastic product it is without them. Those committed fans pay exceptional ticket prices to watch their team play which I believe gives them a stake in this whole process and they deserve the right to a degree of transparency.
I am so concerned about the circumstances surrounding this transfer that I am asking the appropriate police authorities to consider whether any fraud has taken place.
As a politician – and someone who supports and rightly welcomes scrutiny under the Nolan Principles – I feel it is right that the public receive an assurance on this matter – and that transfers are monitored more closely. I hope we can count on the sport’s governing bodies to provide those assurances.
Mayor of Liverpool