Events

The Role of Players’ Agents in Football: An Industry Scandal?

The Role of Players’ Agents in Football: An Industry Scandal?

Room 5,
The Keppel Street Building,
The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Monday 1st March, 6pm-8pm

Given by:

Mr Tom Bower

Synopsis

Tom Bower is one of Britain’s most distinguished investigative journalists. He is perhaps best-known for his exposure of the corporate fraudster Robert Maxwell in Maxwell: the Outsider and Maxwell: The Final Verdict, at a time when few in the press and media were prepared to pose difficult questions about the press tycoon’s activities which culminated in the looting of the Mirror newspaper group’s pension fund. He has now turned his attention to the problem of corruption in the football industry and in 2003 produced, to much acclaim, a highly critical account of the corporate and financial governance of the industry entitled Broken Dreams: Vanity, Greed and the Souring of British Football.

It has long been accepted that financial corruption has been a problem in the football industry. In the 1990’s former Arsenal manager George Graham was banned from holding a managerial position for a year as a result of a scandal involving under-the-counter payments, or bungs, to players’ agents. This prompted the Football Association (FA) to initiate an enquiry into the issue headed by a former Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir John Smith (1998). The Report highlighted a culture of world-weary resignation regarding corruption allegations within the industry leading the authors to pose the question:

“Does it matter if the world of football is tarnished by rumours of financial misbehaviour? There is tendency for people within the game to dismiss this subject with a cursory statement: “that’s football”, as if it were the natural order of things for financial misconduct to be part of the game (Smith & Lejeune, 1998, para. 2.1).”

In this lecture Tom Bower, focusing on the particular problem of the role of the players’ agents in the facilitation of player transfers, will explain why it does matter; and that financial malpractice does have real and severe consequences for the long-term health and prosperity of the game.

Reading

  • Bower, T. (2003). Broken Dreams: Vanity, Greed and the Souring of British Football. London: Simon & Schuster.
  • Smith, Sir J. and LeJeune, M. (1998). Football: Its Values, Finances and Reputation. The Football Association

This is a public lecture to which all are welcome.

For further details contact:

Sean Hamil
Football Governance Research Centre

Tel: 020-7631 6763

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