England’s The Telegraph newspaper reports FA chairman Greg Clarke and chief executive Martin Glenn held an emergency meeting at Wembley Stadium, the organisation’s headquarters, on Tuesday, where the 61-year-old offered to step down rather than be sacked.
Allardyce’s exit comes just 67 days into his £3million-a-year, plus bonuses, contract, making him the shortest-serving England manager.
“The FA can confirm that Sam Allardyce has left his position as England manager,” officials said in a statement.
“Allardyce’s conduct, as reported today, was inappropriate of the England manager. He accepts he made a significant error of judgment and has apologised. However, due to the serious nature of his actions, The FA and Allardyce have mutually agreed to terminate his contract with immediate effect.
“This is not a decision that was taken lightly but The FA’s priority is to protect the wider interests of the game and maintain the highest standards of conduct in football. The manager of the England men’s senior team is a position which must demonstrate strong leadership and show respect for the integrity of the game at all times.
“Gareth Southgate will take charge of the men’s senior team for the next four matches against Malta, Slovenia, Scotland and Spain whilst The FA begins its search for the new England manager. The FA wishes Sam well in the future.”
The news comes after Allardyce, who has been in charge for just one game since replacing Roy Hodgson after Euro 2016, was caught in a sting agreeing to receive £400,000 from what he believed was a football agency from the Far East as well as making remarks about bypassing “ridiculous” FA and Fifa rules on third-party ownership and mocking Hodgson and Gary Neville.
The FA has asked the Telegraph to provide them with “the full facts in relation to this matter”, leaving Allardyce in danger of being sacked just one game into his reign.
One fellow manager has already sprung to the former Bolton, Newcastle and West Ham boss’ defence, saying Allardyce “needs to be allowed to defend himself.”
“You have to let Sam Allardyce defend himself and I just hope he will clear his name,” said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
“I got a call related to the issue and I want the facts in the morning and I will look into it — it is not appropriate to prejudge the issue,” FA chairman Greg Clarke told the Times.
“With things like this you have to take a deep breath and have all the facts and hear everything from everyone.
“Then you can make a judgment about what to do and that’s what we will do. Natural justice requires us to get to the bottom of these issues before we make any decision.”
Glenn, who gave the green light to Allardyce’s appointment after Hodgson quit following England’s humiliating Euro 2016 last 16 defeat against minnows Iceland, is said to have spoken to Allardyce on Monday evening. According to reports, he spoke to him again Tuesday.
Allardyce’s problems began when he agreed to meet the undercover Telegraph reporters, who asked if it would be a problem for their fictitious agency to get involved in third-party ownership through funding football transfers, which is banned under FIFA rules.
“It’s not a problem. We got (Enner) Valencia in. He was third-party owned when we bought him from Mexico,” Allardyce replied.
The Telegraph reported Allardyce said he knew of certain agents who were “doing it all the time” and added: “You can still get around it. I mean obviously the big money’s here.”
He referred to Hodgson as “Woy” — mimicking his speech impediment. He also said the FA had “stupidly spent 870 million pounds” rebuilding Wembley and complained that Prince William, the FA president, had not attended last week’s Euro 2020 launch event in London.
Allardyce’s controversial comments also included criticising Hodgson’s approach at Euro 2016, saying he was “too indecisive” and “hasn’t got the personality for public speaking”.
He said Hodgson’s assistant manager Gary Neville “was the wrong influence for him. F***ing tell Gary to sit down and shut up, so you can do what you want”.
Allardyce poured scorn on England’s failure at the tournament by saying their players have a “psychological barrier” and “can’t cope”.
His actions have put the FA in a difficult position given that England’s next game is a World Cup qualifier against Malta at Wembley on October 8, with the squad set to be named this Sunday.
Robert Barrington, Executive Director of Transparency International UK, said of theTelegraph sting and their wider investigation into football corruption: “These are extremely serious allegations.
“We would expect the FA — and any clubs implicated — to launch an immediate and independent investigation in response to any substantiated allegations to help keep the game clean in this country.
“During such investigations, organisations typically suspend employees against whom there is credible evidence, and co-operate fully with the authorities if there has been wrongdoing.”
It is not the first time Allardyce, nicknamed ‘Big Sam’, has been linked with off-field scandals during his long managerial career.
In 2006, he was named in a BBC Panorama program which alleged that he had taken illegal payments or “bungs” as part of transfer deals.
Allardyce denied the claims and an independent investigation by the former Metropolitan Police commissioner Lord Stevens found no evidence of irregular payments.