Football: Agent to face charges over Pennant move

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The Independent Online
THE PREMIER LEAGUE is preparing to charge Mark Curtis, an agent, over his part in Jermaine Pennant's transfer to Arsenal. Curtis could face eight or nine charges after a six-month investigation by Football Association's Graham Bean, and as a result he could be fined or even banned.

When Pennant - who played at Notts County as an associate schoolboy - signed for Arsenal, the move was the subject of an inquiry after allegations of illegal approaches and payments being to the player's father. Arsenal have been cleared by Bean's inquiry but Curtis will learn this week what charges he will face.

Curtis denies having done anything wrong. He admits recommending Pennant to Arsenal but says he was unaware that the teenager was already under contract to another agent, Skylet Andrews.

Mike Lee, the Premier League's spokesman, confirmed last night that the clubs had been clared of any wrongdoing but "other individuals" would receive correspondence.

Pennant has already made his Arsenal debut in friendly matches and could figure in their first team squad this season. He may also be given a squad number for the club's European campagin.

Arsenal should bear some of the blame for the Nicolas Anelka transfer saga, according to Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, for teaching the French striker to put money first when they lured him from Paris St-Germain.

The Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, provoked outrage in France when he plucked Anelka, then 17, from PSG for pounds 500,000 in February 1997. Now the 20-year-old French international and his brothers, who are acting as his advisors, are demanding a big-money move to Lazio.

"This was a young player who was playing in France. Under the normal system, he would have stayed with PSG," Taylor said. "He was taken away from there by Arsenal, offered a great deal of money and given a great deal of money. His brothers are his agents and suddenly they see a world where they can make more money. They've been taught that that is the way of the world."

But Anelka will not have the backing of the PFA if he attempts to buy out his contract with the Gunners. "We can't encourage players breaking contracts unilaterally," Taylor said.

More football, page 30

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