Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has vehemently denied requesting a fee of £55,000 to work for a fake Far Eastern firm seeking to sell players to Queens Park Rangers, but does admit he was naive.
Hasselbaink was caught up in the Daily Telegraph’s “Football for Sale” scandal, which has rocked English football this week.
The Dutchman is alleged to have negotiated the fee to fly to the Far East and speak to investors in what proved to be a fictitious firm, which the newspaper says made clear it was interested in getting involved in player transfers.
In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports News HQ, Hasselbaink denies he would ever seek to profit from a player transfer: “No, never. I have never been offered any money and I would never entertain that.”
When asked whether he had regrets, Hasselbaink said: “Big time. Big time. You know you reflect, you think back and you criticise yourself and you must say, that I have been naive. I have been naive.
“But then with everything with it, I have never asked for money for myself to take a player or to bring a player to the club. I would never do that.
“That is the painful thing about it. The painful thing about it is that I take my job very serious. Very, very, very serious and I want to succeed in this business.
“I can’t speak for others, I can only speak for me and this, taking money, is not what I stand for. It is not what I stand for, I have never done it and I would never do it just to get a player to the club so I can benefit from that. No.”
Hasselbaink insists he was only discussing being paid to speak in the Far East on a day off from QPR – something that is sanctioned by a clause in his contract with the club – and that he has no control over transfers, which are handled by Les Ferdinand and the QPR board.
He also rejected the idea that the proposed fee of £55,000 was disproportionately high for a mere speaking engagement, explaining that type of figure is not uncommon in football.
Hasselbaink said: “I understand for the English public, or whatever public, that £55,000 is a lot of money. And it is a lot of money. But in the industry that I am in I am fortunate that I can make those kinds of figures.
“I was negotiating to go Singapore for a speech. That’s it. That’s it. No favouritism, no strings attached. What I would never ever do. Never ever do. I would not put myself in that position.”