Clubs must boycott Stevens probe agents - FA

December 22, 2006

The Football Association have called on the Premier League to tell clubs to boycott the eight agents who have refused to co-operate with the Lord Stevens inquiry.

Stevens and the Premier League have requested the FA to use their powers to compel agents to co-operate - but the FA believe the clubs have a powerful role to play too.

Meanwhile, the FA have been frustrated after a planned meeting today between the compliance unit and Stevens' team of investigators about the 17 outstanding transfers was postponed by Quest until the new year.

Asked about how pressure could be put on the eight agents, especially those based outside England, an FA spokesman said: 'While the FA has jurisdiction over agents in this country, the Premier League has the power to instruct their clubs not to use these agents in any deals.'

The Premier League however insist that is currently unworkable because Stevens wants to keep the identity of the eight agents a secret to help his investigators.

A league spokesman said: 'Lord Stevens deems it necessary to see this through to a final and definitive position. That means using the powers of the FA and if necessary FIFA to compel the agents to co-operate.

'Once Lord Stevens has concluded his investigations we will then be in a position to know if charges can be brought against any of these eight agents.'

Quest's decision to postpone the meeting with compliance officers further antagonised the FA, who are already fuming after they were singled out for criticism in Stevens' report on Wednesday.

The FA spokesman added: 'We are waiting to get full information from Quest on the 17 outstanding transfers and the agents involved. We are ready to meet with them as soon as possible.

'Based on the length of their inquiry we expect to receive a significant amount of material. Once we have the full information we will work with the Premier League and Quest on how we go forward.'

Meanwhile, senior police chiefs are investigating allegations of fraud against two football agents.

In a move separate to Stevens' bungs inquiry, the City of London economic crime department are looking into further allegations of corruption within football after receiving a tip-off from someone inside the game.

'We are currently conducting a limited investigation into the activities of two football agents,' confirmed a spokesman for City of London police.

'It is not appropriate to comment further at this stage but it is not part of the Panorama programme and it is not connected to Lord Stevens' inquiry.'

Officers have spoken to members of Stevens' Quest investigation team, whose own work is continuing, and it is believed documents will be handed over to the police to allow them to proceed with their inquiries.

City of London police and are responsible for bringing the corruption charges on which leading jockey Kieren Fallon will stand trial in September next year.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said he was not taken aback by the findings of the Stevens report but claimed it was 'not realistic' to think every transfer was totally clean.

'In England everything is so controlled that I am not surprised that they did not discover anything,' said the Frenchman.

'But it would not be realistic to think that every transaction is spot on.'