EPL agents earn record £174m fees, with City paying most

LONDON • English Premier League (EPL) clubs paid a record £174 million (S$302 million) to agents during the year, which included the summer 2016 and January 2017 transfer windows, the first since the start of the league's current £8.3 billion three-year TV deals.

Figures released by the Football Association on Friday revealed that of the total amount, Manchester City paid the most to agents: £26.3 million.

Chelsea were the second-highest payer of agents' fees, spending £25 million in the period, which covers Feb 2, 2016 to Jan 31, 2017.

Manchester United were the third highest-paying club, racking up £19 million to agents, followed by Liverpool, who paid £13.8 million, and Arsenal, £10.2 million.

The clubs who paid the least were promoted at the end of the 2015-16 season from the Championship: Hull, who spent £1.9 million on agents, and Burnley, whose figure was £2.6 million.

The total represents a 34 per cent increase on the £130 million Premier League clubs spent in agents' fees in 2015, the most recent full year for which the figures were published, during the previous £5 billion, 2013-16 TV deal.

The figures for the period covering the January 2016 transfer window were published separately by the FA last year.

The FA explained that the £174 million does not represent the total agents' fees agreed on all the deals of the summer 2016 and January 2017 transfer windows.

Most agents' fees are paid in various stages, so the figures comprise instalments on the current as well as previous agreements.

The list of deals shows the Monaco-based Dutch agent Mino Raiola acted for the players in United's three major signings last summer: for Paul Pogba in his £93 million sale by Juventus; Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who moved to Old Trafford on a free transfer from Paris St-Germain; and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, for whom United paid a £30 million fee to Borussia Dortmund.

Raiola was reported to have been paid a €20 million (S$29.8 million) fee on the Pogba deal alone but the United total, of £19 million, does not necessarily include the full fees for the deals done last year and is likely to incorporate instalments from previous deals.

Championship clubs paid a total of £42.4 million to agents during the period, although almost £16 million of that is accounted for by two clubs relegated from the Premier League last season.

Newcastle spent £10.4 million and Aston Villa £5.4 million.

Although many supporters and grassroots football participants believe agents' fees to be hugely excessive, the Premier League centrally considers them a matter for individual clubs and an integral feature of the modern transfer market and it declined to comment.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 09, 2017, with the headline 'EPL agents earn record £174m fees, with City paying most'. Print Edition | Subscribe