CHARLES SALE: FA's squeeze on wannabe agents

By Charles Sale

The FA are trying to clamp down on the number of agents operating in English football by making the licence exam more difficult to pass.

The middle men and women wanting official FIFA status now have to score 95 per cent on the FA test, which means choosing the correct answer to 19 of the 20 multiple-choice questions during the two-hour examination.

A general view of Wembley Stadium

A general view of Wembley Stadium

The case studies and the three or five potential answers to each are layered in such a way as to make a precise knowledge of the football  business essential .

Only a small minority of the 200 candidates occupying two floors at Wembley passed the last exam in September, or the previous one in March. A year ago only eight agents received official licences from the 320 hopefuls who sat the test, which costs 300.

Roy Hodgson, who is on a heavily incentivised contract as England manager, has taken extra advice about his commercial opportunities on reaching the World Cup. He is represented by creative talent management agency MC Saatchi Merlin, who have his picture on their website. Other sports stars in their stable include Matt Le Tissier, Mo Farah, Andrew Flintoff, Paul McGinley and Alec Stewart.

Winger Andros Townsend signs new four-year contract at Tottenham

Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has the reputation of being the hardest negotiator in the Premier League. But even Levy recognised that Tottenham's new England star Andros Townsend (above) deserved a pay rise despite having three years left on his contract. Townsend has more than doubled his money and is still outstanding value. Meanwhile, it's understood coach Tim Sherwood is most responsible for pushing Townsend's claims for a first-team place at White Hart Lane.


The MCC hierarchy want to move on after the resolution from rebel members for an independent inquiry into the Lord's rebuilding debacle was heavily defeated at an SGM.  But the acrimony among the club's captains of industry will not go away in a hurry.

Legal grandee Lord Grabiner made an extraordinary attack on MCC chairman Oliver Stocken in a letter read out by former  Rolls-Royce chairman Sir Simon Robertson in which Grabiner called Stocken 'high-handed' and 'deeply flawed', having failed to discharge his duties by suppressing information.

Robertson claimed the incendiary letter had been circulated among the MCC committee before the SGM, but none of them had seen it. Stocken said he was 'flabbergasted' by the Grabiner/Robertson ambush but would not 'demean himself or the club' by taking retaliatory action. Robertson has since apologised to Stocken for the letter not being distributed in advance.


Public confusion about the online secondary ticketing market will only grow now one of the biggest operators, Viagogo, have become title sponsor of Scotland's autumn internationals. This is the same exchange on which numerous Twickenham tickets are traded in breach of the RFU's terms. Viagogo spokesman Oliver Wheeler said: 'No terms and conditions are going to change human behaviour when it comes to buying and selling tickets. Once you have a ticket, it's up to you what you do with it. Scottish rugby have recognised that re-sale will happen anyway.'


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