Sam Allardyce and England didn’t have a choice but to part ways


Sam Allardyce is no longer the England manager. The FA called it a mutual decision, with both Allardyce and the FA choosing to terminate the manager's contract. And this might be one of the only times that a “mutually agreed” upon parting is actually true.

The FA almost certainly wanted to get rid of Allardyce. They had no real choice, with the writing on the wall despite Allardyce keeping the job for just 67 days. He wasn't exactly in a position to defend himself and the court of public opinion had already ruled him guilty. Agreeing to step aside was the quickest and most painless way out of a situation that he could not really win and had no leverage in. Both sides saw a way out, one they could take together, and they did.

After the Telegraph's investigative report alleged that Allardyce used his job as England manager to get a gig that would pay him £400,000 to advise businessmen on how to get around the FA's rules on third-party ownership, the FA couldn't really justify keeping Allardyce. You could argue that Allardyce hadn't gotten a fair chance to defend himself and he could rightfully say that the report did not present any concrete, absolute proof that he leveraged his position to give clear steps on how to circumvent FA rules, but, assuming you believe the recordings from the Telegraph, there is no doubt that he was caught talking about it. He was caught discussing a high paying position and it was his job as England manager that landed him in that position.

No employee, and certainly not the most high profile one, could get away with discussing how to avoid an employer's rules or characterizing their rules the way Allardyce did. That's not unique to Allardyce, but being the England manager does put him in the spotlight unlike your average person, and getting exposed in a major newspaper's investigative report left the FA with no other recourse.

All of that is without even getting into the rules that Allardyce allegedly termed “ridiculous.” Third-party ownership was banned by the FA eight years ago and by FIFA last year for good reason — it leaves a player, a human, under the control of a person or group that is interested only in their own profits. Whether it's an agent, agency, investors or company that owns a player's rights, they make decisions about the player's future and take away the player's right to make his own choices. Of course, the counter-argument is that the players are willingly entering into third-party ownership agreements, but that's not a fair excuse for the practice, especially considering how naive some players are when they enter into these agreements.

The FA had no other choice but to distance themselves from Allardyce and considering he was the manager of their national team, that meant Allardyce no longer occupying the position. They could have fired him and it would have been a strong statement about how they view Allardyce's actions, but they also didn't want to pay him for a job until his contract ended for a job he did for 67 days.

Allardyce could have refused to resign, but his image was being tarnished by the minute. He certainly wants to work in the sport again and trying to fight the FA could have spelled more trouble for him if he did anything else that is questionable beyond what the Telegraph found. The target would be on him, for investigators and media outlets. Allardyce wanted this situation to go away as soon as possible.

In the end, the FA wanted out and Allardyce wanted to put things in the rearview mirror. So they “mutually agreed” to terminate the manager's contract. It's not like either had much of a choice.