Football agents are earning almost £50m a year from Premiership clubs and players, according to analysis by Accountancy Age and the BBC's The Money Programme.
Figures prepared for last night’s programme by Accountancy Age revealed that in the 2001/02 season, agents earned £46m from football’s top division.
Hard-and-fast figures are difficult to come by, as players and clubs negotiate with agents, but Accountancy Age spoke to the finance directors and chairmen of leading clubs as well as insolvency practitioners and stockbrokers involved with the game to reveal, for the first time, average agents’ earnings.
In the 2001/2002 season, Premiership clubs spent £475m on player wages and £323m on transfers, according to the most recent Deloitte & Touche annual football finance survey. Our sources told us that agents would have earned about £46m of this, based on a 10% share of wages (less national insurance) and a 10% share of any player’s cut of a transfer fee. This element (£3.2m) will be less significant going forward as players no longer routinely receive a transfer fee cut.
One Premiership FD said: ‘There is nothing typical about the amounts that English clubs pay agents. Every club has its own policies and indeed the levels would vary depending on the agent and the club’s “desperation” for a player. I am astounded by some of the sums involved but the best-run clubs do not get to the levels popularised by the media!’
The biggest agent acting in football, First Artist Corporation, turns over £8.9m a year. It said the number of football deals it had dealt with had doubled over the past year with 31 originating in the UK and 19 in Europe.