Football agents making a mint

The Football League have released figures revealing their 72 member clubs have paid out a massive £1.4 million to players' agents over the last six months.

It is the first time the public have had access to the 72 clubs spending on agents’ fees, following changes in regulation by the Football League, at the beginning of the year.

The Chairman of the Football League, Sir Brian Mawhinney, said opening themselves to public scrutiny over dealings with agents, a "courageous step".

“The League is delivering new standards of transparency and good governance to the football industry," he said. "I hope it is a lead that others choose to follow.

"In releasing these figures we do not seek to pass judgement on the stewardship of individual clubs. It is simply our view that money being lost to the game through such payments should be a matter for public information and debate," he added.

The figure, however, only represents 12 per cent of the 963 transfer deals that took place during that period between January and June of this year.

Unsurprisingly, the Premiership has not followed in the footsteps of the Football League. It is unlikely they will ever do so, as the major clubs simply don’t want to reveal the staggering amounts of money slipping out of the game and into the pockets of agents.

A number of transfer cases have been under scrutiny following the staggering amounts of money agents have received.

Manchester United brought Louis Saha, from Fulham, for £12.825 million and revealed they had paid £750,000 to agents, Ranko Stojic, Saha’s representative.

Again Manchester United were under the spotlight with Tim Howard’s transfer. The goalkeeper was bought from New York/New Jersey MetroStars for £2.3 million last summer. Mike Morris, a business associate of Jason Ferguson (Alex Ferguson’s son), is said to have made £139,000 on the deal when United thought they were dealing with a Swiss agent.

They haven’t been the only Premiership club to receive criticism over agents’ fees.

Last year, Leeds were stung when Harry Kewell joined Liverpool for £5 million, with the Australian's agent Bernie Mandic, from Max Sports, pocketing £2 million from the deal outraging both supporters and others in the business.

A Leeds United Plc statement to the Stock Exchange at he time read:

"Leeds United confirms that it has accepted an offer from Liverpool Football Club for the transfer of Harry Kewell for £5m in cash.

"In order to effect the transfer, Leeds United has had to agree to pay a fee to representatives of Kewell in the sum of £2m.

"The board, having taken appropriate professional advice, felt that it had no option but to accept these terms given the context of Kewell's current contract”.

So Liverpool pay Leeds £5m. Leeds pay Kewell's agent £2 million, and only end up with £3 million. Kewell gets five-year, £60,000-a-week contract.

The Football League’s move to make public this type of information surely posts a clear challenge to the vastly wealthier Premiership, to open up spending figures to the scrutiny of the public.

Last season, Division One clubs accounted for 80 per cent of the £1.4 million Football League members paid to agents. Derby County and West Ham United were among the biggest spenders, paying out somewhere in region of £240,000 to £280,000 each.

Division Two clubs Barnsley, Sheffield Wednesday, Plymouth Argyle and Stockport County were also paying out big sums, with The Tykes dishing out over £60,000 for 26 total transactions.

Only six clubs in Division Three spent money on fees for agents - with Swansea City heading the list with over £17,500 spent on 19 total transactions.

Thirty-four of the 72 Football League clubs did not spend any money at all on agents during the period under review.