Agents paid over €80m


ENGLISH LEAGUE CUP QUARTER-FINALS:PREMIER LEAGUE clubs paid just over €80 million to agents over the past 12 months, marginally down on the previous year, when the figure was €84.7 million. In only the second year of the league’s publication of fees, all 20 clubs’ aggregate payments were listed in the total of €80,423,744.85. Twelve provided a number to the last penny.

Liverpool fans may wonder how the club could afford to spend more than €10.8 millon on agents, when they were so close to going to the wall. That sum made them the second-highest payers in the Premier League, with only Chelsea’s €11.12 millon exceeding it.

The sums detailed relate to payments for player transfers in and out of the clubs and also to payments for contract renegotiations.

Given that these payments are routinely made over the life of a player’s contract, there is a lag over the impact of monies due to agents. This might help explain why the fees payable to agents in 2010 declined only marginally from the year before, despite a dramatic drop in transfer fees paid.

During January this year and the close season €455 million was paid by Premier League clubs in transfer fees. In 2009 the transfer-fee spend for the English top flight was €743 million. This constituted a 38.7 per cent year-on-year fall in the amount paid to other clubs. Yet the decline in the amounts agents were paid over the past 12 months was only 5 per cent or €4.2 million. Most notable was the saving of nearly €8.4 million for Manchester City’s owner, Sheikh Mansour, in what the Eastlands club paid to agents over the year.

There was also an economy announced at West Ham United, who changed ownership this year, of more than €2.4 million, and Arsenal and Wigan also paid more than €1.2 million less to agents over the 12-month period.

Although these broad economies might have had an effect, other clubs’ fees rose significantly year on year. Liverpool’s were up €2.75 million, Sunderland’s by €2.9m, Everton’s by almost €1.9m, Stoke City’s by €1.7m and Manchester United’s by almost €958,000.

Fulham, Aston Villa and Birmingham City between them accounted for another €2.03 million extra paid to agents.

Elsewhere, Wolves defender Jelle van Damme is returning to Belgium in a €3 million move to Standard Liege.

Van Damme has agreed a four-year contract with Liege – just five months after making the move from Anderlecht to Molineux – although he cannot play for his new club until January 1.

Wolves chief executive Jez Moxey confirmed Wolves will receive the same fee they paid for the 27-year-old in the summer.

Van Damme passed a medical yesterday before the deal was finalised between the two clubs.

Moxey said: “The agreement has been struck in exactly the same way as when we brought Jelle to the club from Anderlecht in June.

“It means we receive the entire fee in the same way as we paid it.” Van Damme, whose wife gave birth to a baby girl last week, has been unable to settle in England.

He made just four Premier League starts for Wolves, scoring once against Fulham.

Van Damme has not had any senior action since being substituted at half-time against Chelsea last month. Club Brugge were also believed to be interested in signing Van Damme before he opted to join Liege.

Serie A players will go on strike for the 16th round of games following a breakdown in negotiations between the Lega Calcio and the players’ union on a new collective bargaining agreement.

Leonardo Grosso, vice-president of the players’ union, Associazione Calciatore Italiana, said after the meeting: “The strike has been called for December 11th and 12th.

“We are really disappointed because we were open to negotiate and to find common ground, but no agreement has been reached.”

The players’ union called off a strike in September after the two sides reached an agreement to enter into negotiations. However, not even the mediation of Italy Football Federation president Giancarlo Abete has helped to resolve the situation. Yesterday was the last day given by the players’ union to the Lega Calcio for an agreement to be reached.

The main area of disagreement deals with what the players perceive as a lack of protection when clubs try to force them into a transfer when they enter the final year of their contracts.

Guardian Service