Napoli owner says agents are a ‘can­cer’ for clubs

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Napoli owner Aure­lio De Lau­ren­tiis spoke out against the ‘can­cer’ of soc­cer agents yes­ter­day and ques­tioned why clubs should have to pay them in trans­fer deals for play­ers.

The flam­boy­ant Ital­ian told the Lead­ers Sports Busi­ness con­fer­ence at Chelsea’s Stam­ford Bridge ground that he also only signed play­ers if he had com­plete con­trol of their im­age rights and some deals had fallen through as a re­sult. “You know, that’s a can­cer of our do­main,” the movie pro­ducer said of agents, in a dis­cus­sion with West Ham United’s vice chair­man Kar­ren Brady. “Not ev­ery agent. But I don’t un­der­stand why you need an agent. “In Hol­ly­wood, the ac­tor pays (the agent) him­self. I don’t pay the agent. In soc­cer, why must I pay? The agents be­came like a tax and some­times they want to be paid up front. You make a con­tract for five years and they want to be paid in two and three years.

“Why? Be­cause when they fi­nally re­ceive all the money, they go shop­ping around and mak­ing your play­ers crazy be­cause they will say ‘I’m ne­go­ti­at­ing with West Ham, they will pay you two mil­lion more’. And so these poor guys start to play not in the ap­pro­pri­ate way.” Napoli sold Ar­gen­tine striker Gon­zalo Higuain, whose agent is his brother Ni­co­las, to Ju­ven­tus for 90 mil­lion eu­ros lastJuly.

English Pre­mier League clubs spent al­most 130 mil­lion pounds ($195.65 mil­lion) on agents fees be­tween Oc­to­ber 2014 and Septem­ber 2015, an in­crease of 15 mil­lion pounds from the pre­vi­ous pe­riod, ac­cord­ing to the league. The fig­ures in­cluded pay­ments made by clubs on be­half of play­ers.

The role of agents, who ne­go­ti­ate with clubs and take a per­cent­age of trans­fer deals, has been in the head­lines af­ter a news­pa­per sting op­er­a­tion that led to Sam Al­lardyce los­ing his job as Eng­land man­ager.

The Daily Tele­graph also filmed soc­cer agents boast­ing about how many man­agers they had paid off in trans­fer deals. De Lau­ren­tiis, who res­cued Napoli from bank­ruptcy in 2004 and brought them back to Serie A from the third tier, said he would like to own clubs in China, the United States and Eng­land as well as Italy. “In Eng­land, I would like to start from the bot­tom and to try to come up lit­tle by lit­tle,” he said. In the United States, he said his in­ter­est would be prob­a­bly for a club on the East Coast. —Reuters

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