League makes move to revoke licences of eight agents

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The Independent Online

The Premier League wants the eight agents who failed to co-operate with Lord Stevens' "bungs" inquiry to have their licences revoked. One of those is Willie McKay - whose clients include Manchester City's Joey Barton and Tottenham's Pascal Chimbonda - who is thought to have been involved in several of the 17 transfers that Stevens has yet to "write off".

Stevens will today give the Premier League's chief executive, Richard Scudamore, details of agents and 17 deals. Scudamore will pass that information to the Football Association, which regulates agents in England, and to football's world governing body, Fifa, and ask for help in bringing the agents to account.

Scudamore said yesterday that he feels the agents should be suspended, pending further inquiries. "It sounds like a sensible idea. I want to put as much pressure on anybody involved in this inquiry to bring forward evidence. I don't know precisely what power the FA have over those agents. Clearly it will be a matter for them [the FA]. Let's see what happens."

A Premier League source said that the non co-operation of the agents on its own should be sufficient to bring disciplinary charges, and set in motion the process to bar them from working. A spokesman for the FA, the body that would bring such charges in England, said: "Until we have details of the outstanding transfers, and the agents involved, we can't comment on what action may or may not be taken."

Stumbling blocks lie ahead. McKay and several others of the eight do not fall within the FA's direct jurisdiction. McKay, for example, is registered as an agent in Scotland and therefore comes under the auspices of the Scottish FA. An SFA spokesman said last night it had not been asked for assistance yet.

He added: "We have had no specific complaints yet about breaches of regulations. But if we are approached, we'll help in any process to improve transparency, and supply whatever documentation we have."

Some of the agents who have failed to help Lord Stevens are believed to be based abroad, including France. The Premier League source said the League and the FA "have grounds for confidence that we can get co-operation [on revoking of licences]".

McKay confirmed that he is one of the eight. He failed to respond to a questionnaire from Lord Stevens' Quest team and defended that position with the logic that he had nothing to hide.

The Association of Football Agents has urged the eight to co-operate with the inquiry and open their books. Phil Smith of the First Artist Corporation said: "Common sense would dictate that those agents who have nothing to hide would help. We have got to establish whether these deals are kosher or not."

Lord Stevens' team queried three transactions in which McKay was involved: Jean-Alain Boumsong's £8m move from Rangers to Newcastle in January 2005, Aliou Cissé's £300,000 transfer from Birmingham to Portsmouth in August 2004 and Chimbonda's switch between Bastia and Wigan in July 2005.

McKay is embroiled in a controversy in Scotland surrounding Hibernian's two brightest home-grown players, Kevin Thomson and Scott Brown. Both signed long-term contracts at Easter Road in the spring but after switching agents to McKay's stable in the summer, both have demanded massive wage deals and/or the right to be sold.

Charlton have offered £3m for the pair but had the offer declined as Hibs want at least double that. As their agent, McKay would have a significant pay day if they left, although there is nothing illegal about that.

Luton's manager Mike Newell, whose comments in January originally helped to spark the Stevens' inquiry, said yesterday that a much broader investigation is necessary.

Newell said: "The game is not clean and Lord Stevens said that yesterday when he was asked the question. He said he felt there was corruption

"They keep rolling these agents out who say the game's clean - but they've only gone into two years in the Premier League. In those two years clubs are more professional - so it's not as widespread. But a lot of these agents have made their millions in the last five to 10 years. There will be a lot of people breathing a sigh of relief on their yachts and in their villas."

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