Robbie Savage, Danny Murphy and Andrew Cole are among more than a dozen former footballers suing an asset management firm over payments to agents.
The High Court heard evidence that the 16 players asked their agents to recommend a financial adviser.
They were put in touch with Formation Asset Management Ltd which then gave them advice on a number of investments.
They paid commission for this, but they were not told the money would be shared with the agents, the court was told.
Their claims are being challenged, Mr Justice Morgan said.
The 17 claimants are former footballers and one financial advisor:
- Andrew Cole - Newcastle, Manchester United
- John Curtis - Manchester United, Nottingham Forest
- Sean Davis - Fulham, Portsmouth
- Robbie Elliott - Newcastle, Bolton
- Shaka Hislop - Newcastle, West Ham
- Stephen Hughes - Arsenal, Coventry
- Denis Irwin - Manchester United
- Tommy Johnson - Notts County, Aston Villa
- Zat Knight - Fulham, Bolton
- Danny Murphy - Liverpool, Fulham, now a BBC pundit
- Ian Pearce - Blackburn, West Ham
- Robbie Savage - Leicester, Derby, now a BBC pundit
- Jonathan Short - Derby, Blackburn
- Jamie Smith - Crystal Palace
- Gary Teale - Wigan
- Tony Vidmar - Rangers
- David Carr - Financial advisor
The claimants allege agent George Urquart owed them "a duty of loyalty, a duty to avoid a conflict of interest and a duty not to make a profit out of the fiduciary position".
But Mr Urquart claimed Robbie Savage "had actual knowledge of the fact that Formation AM paid commission" to him.
Two of the other defendants added it was "fanciful" to suggest they had been "dishonest or had been involved in a conspiracy".
They claim it was accepted "market practice" for money to change hands in this way.
The defendants are:
- Formation Group Plc
- Formation Asset Management Ltd (in liquidation)
- Ian Battersby
- David McKee
- Kevin McMenamin
- Paul Stretford
- George Urquart
Mr Justice Morgan said he had considered a number of procedural matters at a preliminary High Court hearing in London earlier this month.
A further hearing will take place at a future date, and the defendants were given permission to seek expert testimony.