Last updated : 10 December 2006 By Ed
From the Grauniad

Football's 'bungbuster' Lord Stevens has been obstructed in his investigations into alleged corruption in transfer deals by a hardcore of 'rogue' agents who refuse to let him see their bank account details.

Those agents will be named in a report to the Premier League this week. Chairman Dave Richards and chief executive Richard Scudamore will then call on the Football Association to use their power to suspend or ban unco-operative agents. The FA are expected to agree.

Stevens, the former commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, has completed the second phase of his nine-month probe into possible irregularities in 362 transfers between January 2004 and January 2006. He identified 39 deals, involving eight clubs, that needed further scrutiny for bribes and backhanders when he first reported in October. He has been unable to clear all those deals because of the 'rogue' agents.

It is thought that Stevens and his team of investigators from Quest, the corporate intelligence firm of which he is chairman, have greatly reduced the number of transfers in the 'suspect' category from 39, possibly to single figures.

Richards and Scudamore will digest Stevens's latest findings, share them with the League's 20 member clubs and seek their views on how best to proceed. Stevens and Scudamore are likely to hold a media briefing in the week before Christmas.

Stevens' report this week will also make a series of recommendations intended to bring more openness to the transfer system. Rampant speculation about corrupt agents and managers led to the League employing Stevens and his team. They did so after Luton Town manager Mike Newell claimed that he had been offered bungs during talks about transfers and that such illicit payments were rife. Sven-Goran Eriksson, the then England coach, further dented public confidence in the system when he told an undercover newspaper reporter that three Premiership managers were well known for taking their own cuts when players moved between clubs.

Stevens' recommendations will strongly divide opinion among England's elite clubs. He is expected to recommend that:

·All fees paid to agents involved in all future transfer deals be made public. Manchester United are the only club to do so now, though Chelsea are in favour of making such openness universal. Arsenal did so a few years ago with several transfers before abandoning the practice, and their chairman Peter Hill-Wood recently rejected calls for such disclosure, and some clubs, among them Newcastle United, are firmly opposed.

·A clearing-house be set up to vet the integrity of all transfer deals involving Premiership clubs buying or selling talent either domestically or overseas. Quest have been linked with this new role.

·The bureaucracy involved in registering players with both the FA and the Premier League - which involves players, agents and club officials having to sign extensive paperwork - be streamlined.