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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan 24, 2006

Gill wants agents fees out in the open

Manchester United chief executive David Gill has called on the Premier League to 'grab the initiative' and force member clubs to publish the fees they pay to agents.

The Red Devils currently stand alone in confirming the payments, which last year amounted to £2.2million, most of which was in connection to Wayne Rooney's £27million transfer from Everton.

Irritated the present unilateral stance just exposes United to intense criticism, Gill has vowed to review the situation should the rest of the club's top flight rivals fail to follow suit.

But rather than withdraw United's transparency, Gill believes it would be far better for the Premier League to instigate a rule change which forces all 20 members to be open in their declarations.

'I am sure there will be certain clubs who are opposed to the release of these figures and won't do it,' he said.

'That is why it needs leadership from the Premier League.

'It is not a matter of being forceful. It is a matter of having a dialogue and discussion.

'I do not know whether we pay the same, more or less than other clubs but I do know we have nothing to hide about the sums involved.

'Sometimes though, you have to grab the initiative and publish.

'There is so much talk about agents. A lot of myths and scare stories have grown around them. If people showed what they were paid, some of the fears supporters have could be allayed but it is something the Premier League would have to do and introduce into their rules.'

Meanwhile, Gill is adamant United are not in danger of being crushed by the mammoth level of debt incurred by Malcolm Glazer's takeover.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner borrowed £540million to buy United, roughly half of which has been lodged against the club's assets, with the rest sat against his own in the form of hedge funds.

Chelsea's present indisputable status as the Barclays Premiership's top side, coupled with the Red Devils failure to make any real impact in Europe for the past three seasons and a subsequent 20% fall in profits, has led to widespread fears United could eventually end up under the control of the banks who lent Glazer the cash.

But Gill claims that neither Glazer's business plan, nor the banks' financing plans, were set at such a high level that United's future was in peril.

'Manchester United will not implode by finishing third in the Premiership,' he said.

'Neither our internal business plan, nor the bank financing plan is based on first, first, first, cup, cup, cup.

'It is based on the sensible levels we were following as a PLC, which were fairly conservative and based around finishing fourth in the Premiership and getting into Europe. It is about the same now.

'There are a lot of misconceptions about the debt,' he added.

'The hedge funds have no security over the club and no influence over it either. Yes, they have to be repaid but that is something the Glazers will do from their own resources or refinancing plans in time.

'Manchester United is supporting the senior debt, which is around £265million-£275million.

'People need to recognise the cost of servicing the interest on that debt is not in excess of the what we were previously paying in dividends and corporation tax as a publicly quoted company.

'The debt itself is serviceable because our cash generation will improve through the expansion of the stadium and other things.'