Football: Premiership gets tough with agents

Football agents have been told they must be licensed next season to deal in Premier League transfers. Premiership clubs took the step at their annual general meeting in Coventry yesterday.

Fifa, the game's world governing body, has already introduced its own code of conduct for agents and now the Premier League clubs have extended that charter into their own rule book.

"There will be an application fee and it will be at the discretion of the Premier League Board as to who gets a licence," a spokesman said. "Agents will have to agree to conduct themselves in an ethical and professional manner and act for only one party in all transactions."

The Premiership also decided to tighten up on the large television screens. Arsenal and Tottenham have screened instant action but it was agreed that clubs cannot in future relay coverage of the game currently being played without prior written consent of the Board.

Premiership match-day squads will be increased to 16 next season with clubs able to use three from five named substitutes.

Referees were awarded a pay rise of pounds 25, raising their fee to pounds 350 per Premiership game while linesmens' pay is improved from pounds 135 to pounds 150.