NEWCASTLE United and West Ham United were raided by the taxman yesterday as part of a £5million fraud probe.
Chelsea are also cooperating with the huge HMRC investigation into transfers and agent fees.
The raids came as soccer bad boy Joey Barton was banned from football for betting on matches and a takeover of
Southampton was blocked by the Premier League over bribery claims.
Two other clubs are being probed along with top French side Marseille, with HMRC reporting 180 of its officers were involved in raids across the UK and France.
Newcastle’s managing director Lee Charnley, 39, was arrested in a dawn swoop at his home in the city. He was questioned all day before being released.
The club’s training ground and St James’ Park stadium were also searched along with West Ham’s London Stadium in Stratford.
The scandal came on a day of shame for football as:
- Comedian Alan Carr’s Newcastle United scout dad Graham said he faced being quizzed over the HMRC investigation.
- Burnley midfielder Joey Barton was banned for 18 months for placing hundreds of illegal bets — even against his own side
- Sunderland manager David Moyes was charged by the FA for telling a female reporter that she “might get a slap” after an awkward interview
- A £200million Chinese takeover of Southampton was blocked by the Premier League because of sensational bribery allegations.
- The HMRC began its investigation into dozens of Premier League transfers and fees for players’ agents — its biggest criminal action into football — last year. Officials say it could be expanded further.
- In December Manchester United and England captain Wayne Rooney was named in Parliament by Tory MP Charlie Elphicke as one player under suspicion of tax-dodging. He denies wrongdoing.