Sterling former agent broke FA rule on under age playersSeptember 20, 2021
The former agent of Raheem Sterling broke FA rules by signing under-age players, it has been alleged.
Aidy Ward, who also represents Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain through his firm Colossal Sports Management, was formerly the agent of ex-Liverpool player Sterling and has been the subject of an investigation by BBC’s Panorama programme into breaches of FA rules relating to the signing of minors.
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The BBC investigation, ‘Football’s Broken Dreams’, airs on BBC One this evening and alleges that Ward, who also represents players such as Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles, asked Sterling, a minority shareholder in Ward’s Colossal Sports Management firm, to speak, via video-call, to a 15-year-old, allegedly in a bid for him to join the agency.
FA rules prohibit agencies from approaching the families of players to offer representation until they reach the age of 16.
The BBC reports that Ward is already under investigation by the FA in relation to the alleged incident, while Sterling’s lawyers told Panorama that the England international feels he has a responsibility to speak to aspiring players and has done so for many different people, including a couple of times at Ward’s request. However, they state that he doesn’t speak to them about agents or financial issues and he supports FA rules designed to protect young players.
Foday Nabay, 23, is interviewed as part of the programme and claims he was approached by Ward when he was aged just 12. Nabay had been training with Birmingham City’s Academy, but claims he was encouraged by Ward to move to Premier League side Fulham.
He told the Panorama programme: “I didn’t want to go there in the first place, I didn’t feel like I ever really settled in.
“I would be on my phone to my friend on the way to training crying saying how much I didn’t want to go. It was very painful.
“I was in my room 24/7, didn’t want to leave, I didn’t want to do anything. I was really not in a good place”
Ward denied he had ever represented Nabay, but in further emails obtained by Panorama, the programme alleges that he was.
The emails between Ward, Fulham’s Academy Director, Huw Jennings and another agent, appear to discuss the terms of a potential transfer for Nabay when he was 14.
Negotiations appear to be concluded with Jennings reportedly agreeing to pay the agents their full fee, £120,000, if the deal goes through.
FA rules state that an agent cannot request or receive any payment or compensation, in relation to a transfer of an academy player, while that player is in full time education.
Earlier this year The Times reported Ward’s alleged FA rule breaches and subsequent investigation, the allegations being that he “paid the parent of an England youth player £10,000 to join his agency before the permitted age”.
Ward became Raheem Sterling’s agent when the winger was 16 and facilitated his move from Liverpool to Manchester City in 2015.
There is no suggestion of any improper conduct in relation to Oxlade-Chamberlain