Sam Allardyce has left his job as England manager by mutual consent, the Football Association announced tonight.
Allardyce was targeted in a Daily Telegraph investigation into alleged corruption in England football and widespread reports earlier tonight suggested that crisis meetings at Wembley, involving Football Association chairman Greg Clarke and chief executive Martin Glenn, had reached a conclusion.
Videos released by the Telegraph show 61-year-old Allardyce appearing to make a variety of indiscreet and controversial comments to undercover reporters posing as businessmen, and the broadsheet newspaper has agreed to share more detailed findings with the FA.
While the former Sunderland boss is seen talking in unguarded and potentially damaging fashion about his predecessor Roy Hodgson, former assistant manager Gary Neville and his selection policy involving individuals, the most serious issues appear to be his apparent willingness to pursue a £400,000 deal to address investors in the Far East and his views on the outlawed practice of third-party ownership.
Allardyce, a former Blackpool manager and caretaker Preston North End manager, said: “Further to recent events, the FA and I have mutually agreed to part company.
“It was a great honour for me to be appointed back in July and I am deeply disappointed at this outcome.
“This afternoon, I met with Greg Clarke and Martin Glenn and offered a sincere and wholehearted apology for my actions.
“Although it was made clear during the recorded conversations that any proposed arrangements would need the FA’s full approval, I recognise I made some comments which have caused embarrassment.
“As part of today’s meeting, I was asked to clarify what I said and the context in which the conversations took place. I have co-operated fully in this regard.
“I also regret my comments with regard to other individuals.”
In a statement, the FA said: “Allardyce’s conduct, as reported today, was inappropriate of the England manager.
“He accepts he made a significant error of judgement and has apologised. However, due to the serious nature of his actions, The FA and Allardyce have mutually agreed to terminate his contract with immediate effect.
“This is not a decision that was taken lightly but the FA’s priority is to protect the wider interests of the game and maintain the highest standards of conduct in football.
“The manager of the England men’s senior team is a position which must demonstrate strong leadership and show respect for the integrity of the game at all times.”