Ferguson calls for agent guidelines
Sir Alex weighs in to the debate about tighter controls on agents in football.
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2007 07:25 GMT

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson keeps his training ground in order [GALLO/GETTY]

Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United manager, has revealed how he had to ban an agent from the club's training ground after he was caught trying to approach players as young as 12, as calls for a crackdown on agent activities in football grow.
The United boss recalled how club staff had to go to extreme measures to stop the youngsters being approached by agents who act as middlemen in football's multi-million pound transfer market.

"We barred him, so he started to wait outside the academy picking out the cars of the parents, stopping them and tapping them up," said Ferguson.

The Scot, whose son Jason previously worked as an agent, weighed into the debate a day after his club captain Gary Neville said agents should be kicked out of the game.

The 65 year-old Ferguson did not entirely agree with Neville, but admitted the time has come  for agents to be bound by more stringent guidelines in order to stem the flow of money going out of the game.

"In an ideal world, Gary is correct, but agents are here and I have no problem with players taking their advice," Ferguson said.

"But I'd like there to be an investigation into the payments or tariffs of agents. They are taking a lot of money out of football - so much so that clubs are in danger of not being able to buy players.

"That's a dangerous precedent because agents are starting to control the market because they are buying all the top players and that's happening at this moment.

"But if they were paid the same tariffs and same rates as lawyers and accountants, and had a responsible attitude towards the industry, then there is nothing wrong with that."

Manchester United, the only Premiership club that publishes details of payments to agents, shelled out a total of $3.5 million last year alone.

Good advice

Earlier in the week, Neville said that he would like to see fellow players rely less on agents and take more advice from their union, the Professional Footballers Association (PFA).

"One guy can go in (to a deal) and expect to be giving hundreds of thousands or, in this day and age, even millions (to an agent) - and that money is going out of the game," Neville said.

"The clubs should keep that money - or, if they're earning it, the players.

"Players need good advice and good accountants - but they don't need people taking hundreds of thousands off them."

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