Neville calls for players' wages to be made public to avert 'crisis'


SOCCER:The former Manchester United and England full back Gary Neville has called for the wages of all professional players to be made public as a way of helping reduce the role of agents.

Neville, who now works as a television and newspaper pundit, believes the sport is heading towards a crisis akin to that suffered by the banking sector in recent years due to a lack of a regulation. In order to tackle the issue the 37-year-old believes strong measures must be taken, principally the publication of players’ wages and the individual fees paid to their representatives.

He has also called for the setting up of an independent inquiry to look into the matter. “[Agents’] influence in recent years has grown to a level that means football needs to act to address the situation and find ways to curb their influence,” Neville wrote in yesterday’s Mail on Sunday.

“My concern is that just as the banking sector was allowed to run rampant over the last 20 years with little regulation, which led to an unjustifiable culture, football could be heading the same way.

“Two steps could be taken to improve transparency. Firstly, publish the wages of players, as they do in the US sports, so there is no mystique about salaries. Secondly, as well as publishing how much a club spend on agents – as the Football League and Premier League do every year – break down those fees to the individual agents and their companies. Let’s see which agents and clubs share an especially close relationship.”

He added: “The Government seems to set up an inquiry into something most days of the week, but football could really do with an independent inquiry into how agents influence the game. And then come up with some proposals as to how to regulate their role.”

Neville was keen to stress the good work many agents do on behalf of players, but there was no doubting his overall view of the role they play. “It concerns me that there are agents who will hang around youth matches, offering cash inducements to parents and promises to boys to gain influence over them,” he said. Guardian Service

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