Harry Redknapp claims footballers who hit the headlines over sex scandals are treated differently depending on how much they are worth to the club they play for.
The former Spurs and QPR manager says that players with a price tag of £20 million might not be sacked if they step out of line or break the law, where those worth less could be.
Redknapp’s comments feature in Football, Sex, Money: What’s Gone Wrong?, a BBC3 documentary in which Amal Fashanu, the daughter of former footballer John Fashanu, investigates the sex scandals that have become an all-too-regular occurrence in professional football.
“If you can keep it out the newspapers that’s fantastic to start with,” said Redknapp. “You don’t really want it hitting the headlines, you want to keep it within house if you can.
“But then you have to talk to the player involved, just try to tell him it’s not the way to behave. You’re supposed to be setting an example out there to young kids, and it doesn’t go down well.”
“Quite often it’s the most talented ones who can be the biggest problem,” he added. “Someone who steps out of line who’s not a good player – and you might want to get rid of him anyway – he’s broke the rules, he’s gone.”
But, he says, “if it’s a top player who’s worth £20 million or something, he gets treated – there’s no doubt about it – he’ll get treated differently. You don’t suddenly sack him because somebody else will take him, and that is just a fact. It’s not the right way it should be done but that’s the way it is. It works that way. If someone’s got good value, then you can’t afford just to sack him.”
Footballers, Sex, Money: What’s Gone Wrong?
The documentary explores all sides to the ‘sex and fame’ culture surrounding professional footballers, from the truth surrounding so-called ‘kiss and tell’ stories to what happens when footballers cross the line and break the law.
Former players including Dwight Yorke and David Bentley speak to Amal about both the advantages and pressures of being in the public eye.
“You train hard, you come home, 1.30, 2 o’clock you’re through the door,” says former Manchester United striker Yorke. “You’re living alone, you’re bored, what would you do?
“Call a mate, go out for a drive, go for dinner, back in, watch a movie. But you can only do those things for a certain period of time. If you have anything about you, you don’t want to be doing that all the time. You want to get something out your system. You got these beautiful young ladies next to you and you’re feeling macho about yourself, it’s a good feel factor. What do you tell these young guys? Not to?”
Amal also speaks to Helen Wood, the woman who made tabloid front pages after sleeping with footballer Wayne Rooney for money.
She hits out at the idea that she is the “homewrecker” in this situation, saying that Rooney as a married man should have been more responsible: “Why is a girl a slag for sleeping with a footballer, when he’s married?” she asked. “That’s bollocks. He is married.”