Luton in 'illegal payment' storm as FA issues 50 charges

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The Independent Football

The Football Association last night issued more than 50 disciplinary charges against Luton Town, former and current officials and six named agents in relation to alleged breaches of rules governing payments to agents.

The club have been charged with allegedly making payments to agents, between 2004 and 2007, through a holding company, Jayten Stadium Limited, rather than through the club, as required by FA rules. They have also been charged with provision of misleading information to the FA, not having proper paperwork for the deals with agents, and using unlicensed agents.

Luton's former chairman, Bill Tomlins, has been charged with 15 rule breaches, arising from payments made through the wrong channels. The former finance director, Derek Peter, faces nine charges, for approving his decisions. Current directors John Mitchell and Richard Bagehot face charges for failing to report the breaches when they became aware of them.

Luton became the centre of an FA probe into its finances earlier this year, one of several anti-corruption investigations directly or indirectly instigated after Luton's former manager, Mike Newell, claimed early last year that illegal payments were rife.

Tomlins admitted in a newspaper interview in May this year that he had made a number of payments – of up to £160,000 in total – in contravention of FA rules. In attempting to mitigate his behaviour, he said at the time that these payments went via non-official channels because, he claimed, Newell was so opposed to the proliferation of agents in the game that Tomlins did not want Newell to know about them.

The FA said six agents – Sky Andrew, Mike Berry, Mark Curtis, Stephen Denos, David Manasseh and Andrew Mills – had been charged with failing to ensure payments to them were made and disclosed through proper channels.

Luton connection Main charges

* Supposed payments to agents for nine player negotiations made through the club's holding company rather than through the club.

* Alleged provision of misleading information to the FA.

* Alleged dealing with unlicensed agents.

* Bill Tomlins, former chairman: Allegedly involved in 19 of the supposed rule breaches.

* John Mitchell and Richard Bagehot, current directors: Failing to report alleged rule breaches.

* Derek Peter, former finance director: Alleged to have approved the holding company payments.

* Agents Sky Andrew, Mike Berry, Mark Curtis, Stephen Denos, David Manasseh, Andrew Mills: Allegedly failing to ensure payments were made through proper channels; supposed failure to enter into representation contracts with the club.