Warnock made players pay to play, claim

Jason Puncheon and Neil Warnock

Jason Puncheon played under Neil Warnock at Crystal Palace and Queens Park Rangers

A committee of MPs has heard claims Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock made players pay to be selected for games.

The claims were made in tweets – later deleted – by Jason Puncheon, who played for Warnock in 2014 at Crystal Palace.

They were raised on Monday by Damian Collins MP, chair of the parliamentary culture, media and sport committee, at a hearing on football governance.

Cardiff boss Warnock did not comment. It is understood he feels it was dealt with when the FA fined Puncheon.

Collins was questioning Football Association chairman Greg Clarke and director of strategy Robert Sullivan. He was speaking using parliamentary privilege, which allows politicians to raise allegations without fear of legal redress.

Collins said: “In January 2014 it was reported that Jason Puncheon, the Crystal Palace player, made allegations on Twitter regarding Neil Warnock – his former manager.

“The tweets have been deleted but they are available online and I’ll read out the relevant bit.

“He said, ‘What I won’t accept is an opinion from a man who’s crooked and ruining the game. The man who signs players, gives them extra wages and appearance bonuses to make sure they pay him to get into the team or on the bench. The fact that he can even talk about training is shocking. He was never there’.”

Clarke was asked why the FA had not contacted Puncheon to ask him why he made the comments, rather than fining him.

Clarke, who succeeded Greg Dyke in August, said he had not been in his job at the time, and was unaware of what had happened.

Collins replied: “I think it would be pretty poor if someone has gone public and they don’t have any contact from the FA asking why they have they made this allegation.”

Sullivan, who was also giving evidence, said no action had been taken because there has been no “hard evidence”.

Puncheon, 30, was fined £15,000 by the FA and apologised for his comments.

Warnock, 67, has managed 17 different clubs at Premier League and Football League level during a 36-year career in management.

He was appointed manager of Championship side Cardiff on 5 October and has been in charge for just one game – Friday’s 2-1 win over Bristol City.

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