Infantino ‘sad, surprised’ at Allardyce exit

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FIFA president Gianni Infantino has admitted to being “extremely surprised” and “very sad” at the affair that ended Sam Allardyce’s brief reign as England manager.

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“Of course I am extremely surprised. I am also very, very sad about what has happened, about what we are reading, that this is just the tip of the iceberg and that there might be other issues coming and other stories coming out,” Infantino said in an exclusive interview with AFP.

“It is sad, it is sad for football, but of course I know that the English Football Association is looking into the matter and doing their own investigation, and will come to their own conclusions, so we should let those who do their job, do their job and then come with conclusions before commenting any further.”

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Allardyce, 61, was sacked last month after he made a series of embarrassing comments, notably in relation to loopholes in the banned practice of third-party ownership of players, to undercover reporters in a newspaper sting.

Appointed England manager on a £3 million-a-year contract ($3.9 million), Allardyce also agreed to travel to Singapore and Hong Kong as an ambassador for their fictitious firm for a fee of £400,000

The former Sunderland manager’s reign ended after just 67 days. He took charge of a single game, a 1-0 win away in Slovakia in a 2018 World Cup qualifier.

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Several other high-profile figures in English football were also linked with allegations of corruption following an investigation by the Daily Telegraph.

English FA chairman Greg Clarke will be quizzed about the allegations by members of the British parliament on October 17.

Gareth Southgate will take interim charge of the England team for this weekend’s 2018 World Cup qualifier against Malta and next week’s trip to Slovenia.

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