With the publication of Manchester United's internal review of recent
transfer deals imminent, a BBC THREE investigation raises serious new
questions about the business relationship between the club and Sir Alex
Ferguson's football agent son, Jason.
Focusing on two of the transfer deals highlighted by the much documented
'99 questions' produced by United's largest shareholders earlier this
year, the programme, Fergie And Son (BBC THREE, Thursday
27 May, 9.30pm) reveals a series of key findings.
Asks serious new questions about Manchester United's £50,000 payment
to L'attitude, where Jason Ferguson worked, for its role in the transfer
of goalkeeper Massimo Taibi to Reggina, Italy, in 2000.
President of Reggina and Taibi's own agent tell the BBC they had no
contact with L'attitude.
Reveals the startling payments made to agents in the Jaap Stam transfer
to Lazio: uncovers for the first time that United paid Jason's business
associate Mike Morris hundreds of thousands of pounds to sell Stam,
while Elite were paid at the other end by Lazio.
Exposes how Jason Ferguson broke Fifa rules in a major Manchester United
Discloses for the first time that six current members of the United
first team squad are now on the books of Jason's agency Elite.
Hears how Jason Ferguson has had privileged access to United players
by being allowed into the United high security training ground.
In July 2000, goalkeeper Massimo Taibi was sold to Italian club, Reggina.
L'Attitude, a football agency that Jason Ferguson was employed by, made
£50,000 from their role in the sale.
Reggina's president, Pasquale Foti, however, tells the BBC that he
had no contact with L'Attitude.
Asked if Reggina had dealt with Manchester United directly, Pasquale
Foti says: "Yes. I didn't deal with anyone else apart from the player's
agent - Fabio Paresi."
Asked by reporter Alex Millar whether he had met Jason Ferguson, Pasquale
Foti replies: "No, the only Ferguson I know is Alex Ferguson. Any others
I don't know."
The programme also hears from the player's agent, Fabio Paresi, about
the transfer, who says: "Jason was not involved in the deal. So the
deal has been made straight between me and Reggina and Manchester United.
Paresi adds: "Probably in this way, United needed Jason Ferguson's
help in this deal for something else that was not discussing the contract
or the player."
The programme also reveals the payments made to agents in the Jaap
Stam transfer from Manchester United to Lazio in 2001.
Reporter Alex Millar discloses that Manchester United paid Mike Morris,
a close business associate of Jason Ferguson, hundreds of thousands
of pounds to act for them in the Jaap Stam move.
Fergie And Son shows that for Manchester United to sell an established
world-class Dutch international, it took a fee of hundreds of thousands
of pounds, paid by Lazio, to the manager's son's agency, and a fee of
hundreds of thousands of pounds to Morris, whose fee was paid by United.
In an on the record phone conversation, Elite director Francis Martin
tells Alex Millar about the Elite role in the transfer:
"Yeah. That was the first. that was the first deal that we did. At
the time was (sic) a new company - new start. we asked the question,
the deal got done. Lazio asked us - that's the thing. We didn't ask.
It wasn't us selling the player. We were asked by Lazio to get the player."
Former Manchester United Chief Executive Office, Peter Kenyon, however,
is on the record as saying that the club had no contact with Elite regarding
the Stam deal.
The programme also speaks to the player's agent, Ton Van Dalen, who
expressed surprise that Lazio paid Elite: "It sounds strange. It seems
a lot of people made a lot of money for not a lot of work."
Irregularities surrounding the paperwork involved in the Stam deal
are also exposed.
Fifa regulations stipulate that only a licensed agent is permitted
to provide services to clubs in transfer arrangements, but the programme
shows how Jason Ferguson personally provided services for Lazio without
possession of a licence.
"I didn't do any of the negotiation. People can check my phone statements,
because I wasn't involved. As long as there's a licensed agent's name
on it and that person is the person who got paid, or his company got
paid. Then, that's what the rules say," says Elite director, Francis
Martin, whose name was on the official paperwork.
Despite the fact that manager Sir Alex Ferguson has a history of discouraging
young players from signing with agents, the programme also reveals that
Elite has a large chunk of Manchester United's first team squad on its
books, including Roy Carroll, Quinton Fortune, Darren Fletcher, Danny
Pugh, Mark Lynch and Eddie Johnson.
The programme also hears how Elite enjoy privileged access to the team's
much guarded training ground.
Former player, Ashley Dodd, says: "I think because he's the manager's
son that's a major factor. I think, so he'll come in [to the training
ground] and talk to his players. He can come in whenever he can. Other
agents would have to make an appointment."
Mike Morris spoke exclusively to reporter Alex Millar about his United
deals. He revealed that he had been summoned to Old Trafford as part
of the internal review.
He tells the BBC he was cleared: "They [United] interviewed me on the
Tim Howard deal and everything was done above board. As I say there's
no reprimands whatsoever. I had an interview in Manchester, they were
only doing their job, they did it and it was satisfactory and that was
Morris also says he has had no contact from the FA or Premier league
over the Howard deal: "I've not even had a phone call."
In light of the impending review of transfers at the club, Manchester
United felt that: "It would be inappropriate to take part in the programme."
The programme also approached both Elite and Jason Ferguson, but they
declined to comment.
Notes to Editors
If any of the above is used, BBC THREE's Fergie And Son must be credited.
The programme wil be broadcast on Thursday 27 May at 9.30pm.