Club determined to cut payments to agents

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The Independent Online

Manchester United have revealed that they will no longer seek to pay agents merely for renegotiating existing contracts.

Manchester United have revealed that they will no longer seek to pay agents merely for renegotiating existing contracts.

Yesterday's AGM was told that Wes Brown's agent, Paul Martin, had asked for and been refused payment after the defender had signed a fresh contract that would keep him at the club for the next four years. The club's chief executive, David Gill, told shareholders: "He wanted a fee from us but we told him: 'You get it off Wes. We are not paying you.'"

The move comes at an opportune time. Gill had been stung by the furore surrounding a payment of £1.2m to Ruud van Nistelrooy's agent, Rodger Linse, merely for arranging a new contract for the striker which the Dutchman himself had said in advance he was happy to sign. Altogether, the club paid agents £5.5m in the past financial year.

Gill, who said the Linse payment was agreed by his predecessor, Peter Kenyon, accepted that in exceptional circumstances they might pay an agent for negotiating a fresh contract. However, the norm would be that no money would now change hands. "My view is that we shouldn't pay agents for renegotiating," he said. "Once that player is in, it's really up to him to look after his own agent."

United were the first club in Britain to detail precisely how much is paid to agents and from now will publish the names of the agents they pay.

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