PFA opens campaign to reduce influence of agents

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The Independent Online

The players' union yesterday announced a campaign to persuade professional players to turn their back on agents and use their services instead.

The players' union yesterday announced a campaign to persuade professional players to turn their back on agents and use their services instead.

The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) has relaunched its player management agency with the aim of fulfilling the role of an agent for a player throughout his career. Until now, the PFA has represented younger players in their first contract negotiations - including Jermain Defoe, Joe Cole and Rio Ferdinand - with it being seen as a natural progression that they then appoint an agent later in their career.

Now the PFA wants to keep new players within its stable and insist the fees it charges are minuscule compared to most commercial agents. The PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor said 11 union officials were licensed by the world governing body Fifa to operate as agents and the association had access to legal, financial and commercial services.

Taylor said: "We are relaunching this as a real alternative to agents because we have a far bigger support base and we believe our services can provide the expertise needed by a player throughout his career.

"Good young players find themselves being door-stepped by agents all the time and we provide a service they can trust. We have endless calls from players who have signed up with an agent but then find out they have agreed to something they didn't know about."

As well as access to tax specialists and lawyers, Taylor hopes courses in media training, post-football career advice and lifestyle management will appeal to the parents of young players. The latter includes courses specifically-tailored to teach the players how to drive high-powered performance cars safely.

The Tottenham Hotspur newcomer Calum Davenport is to join West Ham on loan. The England Under-21 international moved to White Hart Lane from Coventry City last week in a deal that could eventually fetch the Sky Blues £3m.

Davenport will continue to train at Spurs Lodge from time to time but Tottenham hope the short move will allow him to gain more first-team exposure.

The former Spurs manager Terry Venables is still expected to return Down Under as a coach in the Australian Premier League.

In July it was reported that Venables had agreed to become head coach of Australia's Newcastle United in the new national competition and would also oversee recruitment and technical development.

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