The world’s top agents have joined forces to fight Fifa’s proposals to restrict their unlimited commission to 3 per cent of a transfer fee and to ban dual representation, which allows them to represent the player and club in the same transfer deal.
The super-agents Jorge Mendes, Mino Raiola and Jonathan Barnett, whose companies generated a combined commission of £185.5 million last year, according to Forbes, the business magazine, met three other agents last week to discuss a legal challenge to Fifa. The world governing body’s plans are supported by the Premier League, although a number of top clubs are wary of alienating agents on whom they rely in many of their deals.
Azpilicueta goes on defensive after Sarri swipe
César Azpilicueta exchanged words with Maurizio Sarri in defending his Chelsea team-mates during a heated meeting at the club’s training ground on Monday. The Spain defender — who has captained Chelsea for most of the season with Gary Cahill, the club captain, largely overlooked by Sarri — received support from Willian, with the pair objecting to the head coach’s outspoken public criticism of the side after last Saturday’s 2-0 defeat away to Arsenal. Sarri named Azpilicueta, 29, as one of the few natural leaders at Chelsea later in the week so was obviously impressed by his forthrightness and willingness to stand up for his colleagues.
Review into Football League’s £595m TV deal
The EFL has commissioned the law firm Harbottle & Lewis to conduct an independent review into the decision-making surrounding its controversial £595 million television deal with Sky Sports, which is opposed by 19 Championship clubs because they think it is undervalued and led to 15 of them threatening to form a breakaway league in November.
The review, which will focus on the process by which the deal was agreed and communicated with the clubs rather than on the contract itself, will conclude by the end of the month before being discussed at an EFL board meeting on February 7. A number of Championship owners, led by Leeds United’s Andrea Radrizzani, are still attempting to find a broadcaster to make a rival offer to Sky Sports, whose contract is due to start next season.
Top clubs to give more money to fight discrimination
Premier League clubs will increase their financial support for antidiscrimination projects next season after agreeing to extend their £100 million annual funding of community programmes over the new television cycle, which runs from 2019 to 2022. The value of the domestic TV rights has fallen by £500 million to £4.6 billion for the next TV deal, but the 20 clubs have agreed to maintain their funding of grassroots and education projects at existing levels. A greater proportion of the £100 million community investment will be spent on promoting equality and combating discrimination in football from next season, with a range of projects on issues such as racial diversity and LGBT and female inclusion in the pipeline.
Reed aims for more jobs for English coaches
Les Reed starts work as the FA’s technical director next week with a desire to increase job opportunities for English coaches and managers one of his priorities. The former Southampton vice-chairman showed his commitment to this issue by attending the first session of the 2019 Uefa Pro Licence course last week, with Derby County’s management team of Frank Lampard and Jody Morris among an intake that included the former Arsenal and Liverpool defender Kolo Touré.
It’s political for Fjortoft
The former Norway striker Jan Aage Fjortoft, who enjoyed cult status during spells at Swindon, Middlesbrough, Sheffield United and Barnsley in the 1990s, has taken an unusual step for a retired footballer by entering sports politics. The 52-year-old has been appointed as an adviser and media spokesman for his compatriot Linda Helleland, the Norwegian Conservative Party politician who has launched a bid to become the next president of the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Opportunities come back to bite Chelsea starlet
Chelsea’s commitment to fielding strong sides in the Checkatrade Trophy has inadvertently stalled the career development of one of their most promising youngsters, Ike Ugbo. The 20-year-old striker scored for Chelsea’s under-21s in a Checkatrade Trophy group game against Swindon Town in August before going on loan to Scunthorpe United that month. Ugbo made 17 appearances for Scunthorpe, but the transfer did not work and, having already played for Chelsea, Fifa rules state that he cannot go out on loan again this month. The England Under-20 striker is therefore resigned to spending the rest of the season playing for Chelsea’s under-23s.
Sky reporter was not told Huddersfield blunder would be televised
The notoriety of the Sky Sports reporter Patrick Davison after his interview with “Martin from Wakefield”, whom he mistook for the new Huddersfield Town manager Jan Siewert during the club’s defeat by Manchester City last Sunday, is undeserved. Davison approached the City fan Martin Warhurst at the John Smith’s Stadium because of his resemblance to Siewert without being told that their encounter would be broadcast, leading to him being widely mocked when their conversation was screened shortly afterwards by Sky, when he had simply been following his journalistic instincts after a tip-off from the commentary team. Warhurst is such a doppelganger for Siewart that Huddersfield used him in a parody video to promote their new manager when the German’s appointment was confirmed the following day.