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Agents Have Tapped Yet Another Person At Celtic. Why Does Our Club Put Up With This?

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For the second time in a month, Celtic has fallen victim to what an agent has been doing in the background. I don’t understand why our club would tolerate this, when there are rules and regulations in place which explicitly prohibit this stuff.

First there was the deal which took Ange Postecoglou to Spurs; we now know that his agent had been pushing that one in the background for months, when Celtic still had things to win and we were in the process of making plans for this coming campaign. I believe we used that information to leverage a good deal out of Spurs as a payoff.

I wonder if we’re not doing the same here.

Nevertheless, this is a bad road we’re on now if we are allowing agents to negotiate deals behind our backs. We all know that this goes on, but the phrase that used to cover it was “don’t ask, don’t tell.” It was discreet. It was handled without fanfare, and it was limited in scope.

Since time immemorial clubs have reached out to players and asked them if we’d be willing to sign for them. What’s new – and alarming – is that agents now openly discuss terms and go back to their clients with offers before the club which holds the contract even knows it’s going on. What’s even more scandalous is that this stuff is invariably leaked to the media before the club which owns the player has even had an official offer … and that’s where we ought to draw the line.

There is no ambiguity about what it says in the rules. FIFA regulation 18.3 is explicit on what the club and the agent are supposed to do. There’s no wiggle room in here at all.

“A club intending to conclude a contract with a professional must inform the player’s current club in writing before entering into negotiations with him. A professional shall only be free to conclude a contract with another club if his contract with his present club has expired or is due to expire within six months. Any breach of this provision shall be subject to appropriate sanctions.”

They must inform our club in writing before entering into negotiations. There it is in black and white.

And yet every one of those reports from the other day said the deal had been done and we still hadn’t had an opening offer. That’s as clear-cut a violation of the rules as you are ever going to get, a public two fingers up to our club and to the entire regulatory system on which the game functions. The Saudi club won’t give a toss; the agent should be sanctioned for his role in it.

The trouble with allowing such a blatant, and public, illegal approach first for your manager and then for your player is that it gives everyone the idea that they can do it you as well, which is the very last thing that a club like Celtic should be promoting to the outside world. On the Ange approach, this was pretty obvious … on this one it’s shockingly blatant.

The regulations exist to prevent exactly the scenario we’ve seen here; a player under contract having £100 notes waved in his face by a club which doesn’t own him. It’s an inducement to break his current deal, no matter how it’s dressed up, and if Celtic presents itself to the world as a club which simply takes this stuff lying down we’ll have problems far into the future, with every single one of our good players being targeted and unsettled this way.

I would hope that we’re not just doing nothing.

A public statement, utterly condemning this approach, would actually win us media friends and friends across the wider game, and especially in England where even they view this Saudi league setup as a credible threat. It would also, however, put unscrupulous agents on notice that we’re not just going to do nothing if they pull this sort of crap.


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