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By ESPN Staff
Dec 23, 2006

Whelan demands ban for eight rebel agents

Wigan chairman Dave Whelan has called for the eight agents who refused to co-operate with Lord Stevens' inquiry to be banned from football.

Stevens this week announced the findings of his Quest team's nine-month inquiry into alleged illegal payments by revealing that 17 transfers - out of 362 - still require further investigation because eight football agents have failed to co-operate.

Instead of naming names, the former Metropolitan Police commissioner made some searing criticisms of the Football Association and the accounting procedures of some unnamed clubs, and produced some 39 observation and recommendations.

But Wigan chairman Whelan has called for action to be taken against the eight agents who did not respond to Stevens' request for information.

'I would take away the licenses from all the players' agents who, it has been claimed, failed to co-operate with the investigation,' he told the Daily Mail.

'They say the truth never hurts, and these particular agents should no longer be allowed to trade.'

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger yesterday said he was not taken aback by the findings of the Stevens report but claimed it was 'not realistic' to think every transfer was totally clean.

'In England everything is so controlled that I am not surprised that they did not discover anything,' said the Frenchman.

'But it would not be realistic to think that every transaction is spot on.'

The Football Association have called on the Premier League to tell clubs to boycott the eight agents who have refused to co-operate with the inquiry.

Stevens and the Premier League have requested the FA to use their powers to compel agents to co-operate - but the FA believe the clubs have a powerful role to play too.

Meanwhile, the FA have been frustrated after a planned meeting today between the compliance unit and Stevens' team of investigators about the 17 outstanding transfers was postponed by Quest until the new year.

Asked about how pressure could be put on the eight agents, especially those based outside England, an FA spokesman told PA Sport: 'While the FA has jurisdiction over agents in this country, the Premier League has the power to instruct their clubs not to use these agents in any deals.'

The Premier League however insist that is currently unworkable because Stevens wants to keep the identity of the eight agents a secret to help his investigators.

A league spokesman said: 'Lord Stevens deems it necessary to see this through to a final and definitive position. That means using the powers of the FA and if necessary FIFA to compel the agents to co-operate.

'Once Lord Stevens has concluded his investigations we will then be in a position to know if charges can be brought against any of these eight agents.'

Quest's decision to postpone the meeting with compliance officers further antagonised the FA, who are already fuming after they were singled out for criticism in Stevens' report on Wednesday.

The FA spokesman added: 'We are waiting to get full information from Quest on the 17 outstanding transfers and the agents involved. We are ready to meet with them as soon as possible.

'Based on the length of their inquiry we expect to receive a significant amount of material. Once we have the full information we will work with the Premier League and Quest on how we go forward.'