Luton Town manager Mike Newell last night pledged to "dig out" the club officials and agents who offered him transfer 'bungs'.

Newell claimed on Wednesday that football was still blighted by such payments and called upon the sport's authorities to clamp down.

And after Football Association officials called him to a meeting early next week to discuss his remarks, the former Everton, Blackburn and Birmingham City striker insisted he would gladly back up his words with facts.

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"I have been offered sweeteners by agents and certain club officials to sell players from this football club," Newell said. "I always say I am not interested and I never give it a minute's thought.

"If I was open to that sort of thing, I might well have taken a sweetener.

"I have no problem substantiating what I have said and I have no problem digging people out. I received a fax from the FA and I am quite happy to meet people and talk to them.

"I can back up everything I have said and I can sleep well at night. The matter is in the hands of the authorities now."

Newell - who has never had an agent - remains particularly upset at the amount of money he believes play-ers' representatives are making from transfer deals and contract negotiations.

The 40-year-old boss challenged fellow managers to back his stance against them, but he does not expect many to do so.

"I know there are other managers who do not like dealing with agents," he continued. "There are plenty of managers out there who think like that but I fear there won't be a long queue of people lining up to back me on this issue."

Mickey Adams, the Coventry City manager, said he had never been approached by an agent brandishing sweeteners to push through a player deal. "Mike's opened up a can of worms for himself," said the Sky Blues boss of Newell's claims.

"But, while I'm sure it does happen in certain football clubs, it's not been in my experience.

"I've always been at football clubs where I've been given a budget and the chief executive, financial director or whatever you want to call him, sorts out contracts and deals with agents. I'm more than happy just to let them get on with it, as we've all seen the consequences. If it's a route you want to go down, I'm sure the options are open to you, but I've never been bunged yet."

Leading football agents hit back last night refuting Newell's claims.

Stella Group's Jonathan Barnett, Jerome Anderson of the SEM Group, First Artists' John Smith and the Formation Group, as well as prominent lawyer Graham Shear, have come together to form the Football Agents' Association, which aims to act as a self-regulatory organisation and in full co-operation with the game's governing bodies.

They issued a joint statement which read: "It was with great concern that we read comments made by Mike Newell alleging that 'bungs' are rife in football and that agents generally are active in this disgraceful practice.

"So far as we are aware, Mr Newell has not named the individuals to whom these allegations are intended to refer, but his comments as they stand cast aspersions over the whole role of agents and indeed licensed agents generally and are by implication defamatory.

"As far as we are aware, his assertions are without foundation and we welcome an investigation by the FA with which we would be happy to cooperate."