Rooney agent quits as director after trial

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The Independent Football

The Football agent Paul Stretford resigned as a company director yesterday after it emerged he had made false statements to a court.

Stretford stepped down as a board director of Formation Group plc, the holding company of Proactive Sports Management. He will continue to work as head of Formation's professional representation division.

A statement released by Formation said the resignation was for "personal reasons".

It came just three days after the collapse of a trial in which Stretford was the chief prosecution witness.

He complained to police last year that he was being blackmailed into sharing the money he made by representing England star Wayne Rooney.

During the subsequent trial, which began last week in Warrington, he repeatedly claimed he had not poached the young striker from his original agent.

But the case collapsed on Monday after the court ordered Formation to release a number of documents, which proved Stretford was representing Rooney in September 2002 - three months before his original agreement ran out. The prosecution said it was no longer able to rely on Stretford as a witness and offered no further evidence. All three defendants were automatically acquitted.

A statement from Formation said Stretford would "remain head of the company's player representation division and continue his normal duties in that capacity".

Proactive represents 225 footballers, including Fulham's Andy Cole and Newcastle midfielder Nicky Butt.

Following the trial there were calls for an inquiry into the way football agents operate. The Formation statement said it "fully supports any such inquiry and adds its weight to it".

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