Agents

Questions are being raised about the influence one agent has over La Liga's biggest deals, reports Dermot Corrigan

Given the financial difficulties Spanish football faces, the summer transfer market was mostly quiet, with the majority of deals either free transfers or loans. However, this general trend was bucked by Portuguese super-agent Jorge Mendes and former Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon, whose dealings drew attention from the Spanish media and even FIFA, raising questions about just who makes the important decisions at some of La Liga's biggest clubs.

Mark Brophy looks at the emerging trend of former player agents becoming directors of football at Premier League clubs

If a Blackburn or Newcastle fan were to feel dismay towards recent personnel changes at the heart of their club, it might not be the sackings of Sam Allardyce or Chris Hughton that were exercising them. Supporters might find the growing influence of men who previously were in the business of promoting players infinitely more worrying. Jerome Anderson, a prominent agent, has been advising Blackburn's new owners (see WSC 288) and Kia Joorabchian, best known here for his role in Carlos Tevez's career, has reportedly also begun to act as an advisor to Mike Ashley at Newcastle. Chelsea fans needn't be smug either: super-agent Pini Zahavi is a member of Roman Abramovich's inner circle.

Swiss police catch a controversial owner, reports Graham Dunbar

A celebrated players’ agent and club owner currently sits in a prison cell awaiting trial on charges including fraudulent bankruptcy and abuse of trust. For added comedy value, he is a dead ringer for David Brent, one of his victims was the former president of Real Madrid, and his farcical extradition saga entertained even non-football fans throughout the summer. Of course, there is inevitable tragedy at the heart of the life and times of Marc Roger and that is the near-destruction of a proud club, Servette, 17 times the champions of Switzerland.

The FA have introduced regulations for agents, reports Neil Rose

The summer 2007 transfer window may have been the most bountiful ever, but for agents it may be the last off-season of plenty. The FA’s new Football Agents Regulations came into force on September 1, but agents should be grateful that they at least had this summer – only the threat of legal action stopped the changes going live in May. It is a sign of the disquiet over agents that the FA have revised their rules – which came into force as recently as January 2006 – so quickly. A review began shortly afterwards and its proposals went through several redrafts in an effort to reach an agreement. But the FA eventually realised that some would object whatever.

Agents or club chairmen – who are most disliked? Polling even worse are the growing subset who step from one job to the other. As one agent who helped bankrupt a club faces jail in Switzerland, Dan Brennan looks at the puzzling trend

Letting a football agent take control of your club might sound a bit like handing a burglar a spare set of keys to your house and telling him where the family silver is kept. That is certainly how it must now feel to supporters of Servette, the venerable Swiss club that went bankrupt two years ago and were forced to begin life again in the third division.

Panorama caught a few people making embarrassing statements, but David Stubbs wonders if the producers should have done better and if they were looking at the right targets

The way the BBC flagged up Alex Millar’s exposé of bungs in football like an overexcited linesman may have been an attempt to reflate the reputation of the beleaguered Panorama, or because they had struck serious dirt. The lack of advance tapes heightened the air of expectation. It was enough, evidently, to unnerve Harry Redknapp, who protested that he was an astonishing “one million per cent” clean as a whistle and any attempt to suggest otherwise would incur his legal wrath. In the event, all they had on Harry was footage of him putting up a jowly stonewall as he was offered a free trip to the 2006 World Cup to view some players. “Sounds fantastic,” he remarked, non-incriminatingly. What could he possibly have been worried about?

Steve McClaren's agent claimed that English football is the most corrupt in Europe, but from abroad it's all a matter of perception, as Gabriele Marcotti of Corriere dello Sport explains

“Who the fuck is Charles Collymore?” That’s what a well known European agent, one who has done dozens of deals in the English game, said to me shortly after 10pm on the night of the BBC’s Panorama documentary. His take, echoed by others, is that, if proved, the latest round of “bung revelations” are destined to fry a whole bunch of smaller fish, while allowing the major players to escape unscathed.

It’s not just managers who play the percentage game. The role of agents in football is once again under scrutiny, but Adam Powley wonders if the will exists within the game or the media to tackle the problem properly

Many issues have been raised by Mike Newell’s dramatic contribution to the perennial saga of bungs. But amid all the outrage, one question has barely been asked: what exactly are agents for? 

It's all in the small print. Ben Lyttleton tells us why Sir Brian Mawhinney is taking on the FA over the role of agents

Sir Brian Mawhinney, the Football League chairman, has blamed the FA and the Premier League for failing to resolve the issue of dual representation of agents in a new set of regulations that were passed by the FA Council in November. He should have saved some of his frustration for FIFA, whose intransigence on clearing up an ambiguity in their regulations has turned the issue into a major debate.

Football agents enjoy little in the way of popularity and much in the way of blame. But Athole Still, a man who can claim to be responsible for the appointment of one of his clients as the current England coach, believes his profession is a must in modern football and wants to clean up its image

Do footballers need agents?
Frankly, football is now part of the entertainment business. In the entertainment business worldwide, agents have been established for 150 years or so. So I would say everyone in football who has a desire to have a long-term career must have an agent and it must be one who is fully involved in football, who knows what’s going on. Some use a lawyer instead. A lawyer may do the contracts side perfectly well, but there is infinitely more to being a good agent than doing contracts. It’s much more important now in relation to things like the Bosman rule. At the start of this season, for instance, there were something like 530 players out of work: it’s now a bit of a dogfight, unless you’re a star. But less than five per cent of footballers are what you could call real stars. The vast majority of players need somebody with their ear to the ground who knows what’s going on.

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