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
Stevens' recommendations will strongly divide opinion among
·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
·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.