England

Tommy Wright: Ex-Barnsley assistant coach guilty of taking bribe

Tommy Wright Image copyright PA
Image caption Tommy Wright was found guilty of two charges of accepting a bribe

Barnsley Football Club's former assistant head coach has been convicted of accepting a £5,000 bribe to leak commercial information about players.

Tommy Wright was handed an envelope of cash during a newspaper's undercover probe into football corruption in 2016.

The 53-year-old was convicted of two charges of accepting a bribe at Southwark Crown Court.

Football agents Giuseppe Pagliara and Dax Price were convicted of two counts of paying and facilitating a bribe.

Prosecutor Brian O'Neill QC said the three men had been caught up in an investigation by the Daily Telegraph, which "published a number of exposés of alleged corruption in English football" in September 2016.

Jurors deliberate for just under 32 hours before returning majority verdicts on Wright, of Barnsley, South Yorkshire, and 48-year-old Price, of Sittingbourne, Kent.

Pagliara, 64, of Bury, Greater Manchester, was found guilty on 12 December.

Image copyright BBC Sport
Image caption Giuseppe Pagliara (pictured) and Dax Price were found guilty of two counts of paying and facilitating a bribe

The court heard Wright was given the money by the newspaper's undercover reporter Claire Newell.

He is also understood to have leaked information about Barnsley players at a meeting in August 2016.

Jurors were told some of the players were encouraged to sign up with Pagliara and Price, who both broke football rules by acting as "third-party" owners of players in a bid to profit when they were sold on to other clubs.

Lewis Power QC, defending Wright, said his motivation for getting involved with the two agents was to turn Barnsley into a better club.

The court was told such third-party ownership set-ups were banned by the FA in 2009 and by Fifa in 2015.

All three men were bailed to appear at Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday when a date for sentencing will be fixed.

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