Date: 2nd May 2007 at 10:32pm
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A row between football agents, the Football Association and the Government has led to the FA temporarily backing down, although they have insisted that they are determined to press ahead with rules governing the conduct of agents. Allegations of a ‘bung culture’ led the FA to draw up a series of proposals, including a ban on agents from representing both the club and player in any transaction as well as a ban on agents owning a financial stake in a player’s registration. The Association of Football Agents, which wants a self-regulatory system, believes the rules are too severe. Football agents claimed that the rules would significantly hit their trade and threatened to take out an injunction seeking to stop the FA implementing the new rules.

The FA postponed its plans to avoid a court injunction and the Government then weighed in through sports minister Richard Caborn, giving its full backing to the FA. The sports minister commented, ‘It would be very disappointing if rules brought in by a sporting body to protect the integrity of sport ended up going through the courts.’ However, although Mr Caborn is concerned about the damage to the game’s image a legal battle would cause, he has no powers to intervene. The FA originally intended to bring in the new rules when the summer transfer window opened on June 1st, but has now postponed their implementation until September 1st. The timing of the objections was not without significance and it remains to be seen whether the FA will make concessions to the agents.