Football: Taylor warns on foreign players

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The Independent Online
UP TO 20 per cent of foreign players seeking work permits to play in England in the past five years have had their requests refused because of suspicions that the deals were being brokered by unscrupulous agents.

"Over the years we've turned down work permits for a not infrequent number of players," Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, said yester- day. "I'm talking about players from places such as Eastern Europe, Africa and South America. With those deals, I'd estimate that in 10 to 20 per cent of cases there have been too many grounds for caution to allow the deals to go through."

Taylor said the PFA has been concerned that buying clubs have been asked to pay fees to third parties rather than to the selling clubs. "The transfer system should see money going from club to club," Taylor said. "If we're not careful, the game will be run by agents. Without proper controls, you can't be sure who's getting paid for what." Many deals go unscrutinised by the football authorities because work permits are not needed in most cases.

Taylor will meet Football Association officials today to discuss what can be done to stop agents from profiteering and what can be done to make the transfer system more transparent. The FA has recently said that it will monitor clubs' financial dealings more closely and it is understood that transfer regulations will be tightened. "If Gordon Taylor is aware of any behaviour by individuals which is in breach of the rules and regulations, he should make that information available," said an FA spokesman.