Last updated : 10 June 2007 By Editor

The Observer:

The arrest of the 61-year-old man on Friday by City of London police in Manchester on suspicion of money laundering following an investigation into corruption in football will be followed by further arrests over the coming days, Observer Sport understands. A police source said: 'There is more than one Premiership club involved here and if this is all followed through it will be a major breakthrough.'

The man who was arrested is not thought to be club executive or football agent, but an accountant or an expert in financial dealings. Officials close to the inquiry believe it marks the start of a trail of arrests that will lead to more high-profile figures in the Premiership.

Friday's arrest comes as a direct result of a close liaison between Quest, the Premier League 'bung' inquiry headed by Lord Stevens, and several agencies including the police, Customs and Excise and the Inland Revue.

A source from one of the agencies involved in the investigation said: 'Why this is so important is that usually the practise of off-shore accounting, foreign bank accounts and the setting up of multiple companies to hide the identity of which persons are doing what business means it is usually very difficult to acquire the hard evidence needed.'

It is thought that nearly all of the foreign agents contacted by the Quest team refused to cooperate because they fall out of the jurisdiction of the Premier League.

The Mail on Sunday:

Football's bung-busters are on the verge of a sensational breakthrough after uncovering an agent who claims to have made an illegal payment to a Premiership manager.

The Quest inquiry and the Football Association are involved in behind-thescenes negotiations to offer the agent immunity from serious punishment in return for hard evidence which would give the £1 million, year-long Premier League investigation the big-name scalp it needs.

A top Premiership manager stands to be named for accepting an illegal payment from a player's agent.

Quest, the company headed by former Metropolitan police chief Lord Stevens, are on the verge of a dramatic breakthrough in their investigations into Premier League transfers after uncovering the agent.

Despite suggestions that the authorities would not strip the agent of his licence in return for his evidence, the agent is reluctant to become football's most famous whistleblower because of the huge publicity the case would attract and the likely effect on his work.

But he faces the threat of sanction if he fails to co-operate and it is thought he will throw himself on the mercy of football's rulers.

Quest have shared information with the City of London Police's economic crime department, whose separate probe into football led to the arrest of a 61-year-old man in Manchester last month on suspicion of money laundering.

It is understood that evidence uncovered by Quest did play a part in the arrest but the person concerned is not a high-profile figure in the league of the Premiership manager under scrutiny.

Quest are continuing their inquiries while the Premier League decide how to deal with the latest report, which is also believed to reveal that they have been unable to sign off any of the 17 transfers which have been outstanding since the turn of the year.

One of the main reasons for not reaching a verdict on the deals has been the failure to gain co-operation from a number of foreign-registered agents.

Chief executive Richard Scudamore has long been under pressure to call time on the inquiry from clubs who feel it has cost too much and taken too long.

He is also being urged by clubs who believe they are in the clear to make public the transfers which remain under suspicion and so remove the cloud of suspicion from those who have done nothing wrong.

But closing the inquiry when it is apparently so close to a huge breakthrough would result in accusations of a cover-up.

Even if Quest are withdrawn, the FA will pick up the baton and investigate the outstanding issues. It has been suggested that they might ask the Quest team, headed by former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lord Stevens, to assist them.