Last updated : 13 January 2004 By editor
The agent at the centre of allegations that Manchester United acted improperly in the transfer of the goalkeeper Tim Howard yesterday claimed the story had been leaked in order to discredit Sir Alex Ferguson and his son Jason.

Gaetano Marotta, a Swiss-based agent, negotiated Howard's £2.4m transfer from New York Metrostars to Old Trafford last summer. According to documents obtained by the Sunday Times, Marotta paid £143,000, the bulk of his commission, to Mike Morris, an associate of Jason Ferguson, himself an agent.

"The way I interpret this is that it is not a story about me or about Tim Howard but it is from people who want to get at the Ferguson family," Marotta said.
"These are false and grave accusations but there is no justification for me to make. These are not accusations about me or about Tim Howard. Let the Football Association's inquest run its course and you will see. I have a partner in Mike Morris and that's it. People are wrongly mixing things up. I am Tim Howard's agent in Europe; all along I was working with SportsNet. Jason Ferguson is a client of mine. That is all."