FA to Review Evidence of Tottenham’s Breach of Transfer Rules During Jermain Defoe’s Move to Portsmouth in 2008

Tottenham are facing allegations of breaching transfer rules during Jermain Defoe’s switch to Portsmouth in 2008, with the FA saying it is prepared to review evidence after initially taking no action 15 years ago.

A report from the Times has claimed that Spurs could find themselves in hot water after evidence appears to show that they used an unlicensed agent in negotiations that saw Defoe complete a £7.5million move to Pompey.

At the time, the FA decided to take no action against Tottenham but English football’s governing body has revealed it would consider looking back into the allegations if new evidence is presented.

Breaching FA rules on agents has led to clubs being hit with points deductions, suspensions for directors and transfer bans imposed. In that same year, Luton Town were docked 10 points for breaking the agent rules.

‘The case was heard by an independent arbitration panel 15 years ago,’ a spokeswoman for the FA said.

Tottenham are facing allegations of breaching transfer rules during Jermain Defoe’s switch to Portsmouth in 2008

Defoe (left) was sold by then-Spurs boss Harry Redknapp (right) in January 2008

Spurs chairman Daniel Levy (pictured) sanctioned Defoe's move to Fratton Park in 2008

Spurs chairman Daniel Levy (right) sanctioned Defoe’s move to Fratton Park in 2008 

‘The FA was not a party to the arbitration. It is unclear how much information was shared with the FA at the time, and no disciplinary action was taken. 

‘If there is new evidence which was not available at the time, and which suggests serious breaches of our rules took place, we will review it.’

The report from the Times claims that former West Ham and Tottenham player Mitchell Thomas – who was a ‘central figure’ in Defoe’s move to Portsmouth – was an unlicensed agent at the time.

It has been claimed that Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy, Defoe and then-Spurs manager Harry Redknapp all dealt with Thomas during the deal.

FA regulations at the time – that are still in place today – stipulated that players and clubs are not allowed to use unlicensed agents to complete transfer deals.

The report goes on to claim that failure to comply with these rules can result in serious sanctions, with relegation even a possibility.

The FA reportedly decided to take no action in January 2010 – despite having access to detailed phone records and knowing that Thomas had played a part in helping seal Defoe’s move to Fratton Park – as they claimed Wembley officials did not have all of the relevant documentation at the time.

Defoe poses with the Portsmouth shirt following his January move from Spurs in 2008

Defoe poses with the Portsmouth shirt following his January move from Spurs in 2008

One FA executive is even said to have not been made aware of the Defoe case at the time.

Thomas was named by the FA in 2008 in a list of agents that had been operating without the appropriate licence.

Tottenham ended up finishing fourth in the 2009-2010 campaign ahead of Manchester City to qualify for the Champions League – the first time they qualified for the European Cup (as it was previously known) since 1962.

Tottenham and Portsmouth were both approached for comment. 

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