Gary Neville, a former Manchester United defender-turned-soccer-pundit, has called on FIFA, its continental confederations, and the various league organizations that report to those confederations, to demand greater transparency about the relationship between clubs, agents, and the coaches and players they represent. Writing in his weekly Mail on Sunday column, Neville says that the influence of agents is “running out of control” and that an inquiry into their dealings is required to avert a crisis.
"Sometimes it is not clear who the agent is working for: the club, the player or the manager," Neville writes. "It concerns me that who gets paid what, and where it all ends up, isn't always clear, especially in global transactions." For example, he says, “If you're an aspiring manager you might feel you have to pick a certain agent to get offered a job by clubs. And if you do go down that route, what will your response be when the agent who got you the job suggests that you buy one of his players?” Third-party ownership, which is banned in England but “common elsewhere,” is yet another concern, he adds.
Neville, who is also part of Roy Hodgson’s England coaching staff, says he does not have answers to the problem, but he feels that greater transparency, including publishing player salaries and agents’ fees -- particularly who gets what and what goes where-- would be a first step. He adds that a global, independent inquiry into how agents influence the game would also be helpful.