Jorge Mendes and Wolves’ relationship found to comply with EFL regulations

David Conn on 25 April 2018

The EFL has announced that it is satisfied with the status of the Portuguese agent Jorge Mendes at Wolverhampton Wanderers, following concerns raised by Leeds United and other Championship clubs.

The EFL said Mendes’s involvement – as an agent and as an adviser to the club and to its owner, the Chinese conglomerate Fosun – does not amount to a formal role. Because Mendes is not a director nor formally representing Fosun or controlling Wolves’ dealings the EFL concluded, following “a comprehensive review of the detail” Wolves supplied, that he did not have to be cleared under its owners and directors test, formerly known as the “fit and proper person test”.

Now promoted from the Championship, Wolves’ ownership structures and relationship with Mendes will be scrutinised further by the Premier League, whose executive chairman, Richard Scudamore, is understood to have been asked by at least one club to bear in mind the concerns raised in the Championship.

The Leeds owner, Andrea Radrizzani, tweeted last month that the Wolves ownership arrangements were “not legal and fair” because Fosun also owns a stake in Mendes’s agency Gestifute. Radrizzani then wrote to the Football Association, EFL and Premier League seeking clarification of the relationship with Mendes.

The EFL statement in response deals with only part of the clarification sought. FA rules prohibit a company or person who owns a club to also own a stake in an agency; Wolves’ arrangements are thought to pass because the stake in Gestifute is not directly held by Fosun but by a company owned by its chairman, Guo Guangchang.

The FA’s rules aimed at preventing conflicts of interest also forbid an agent from being in a position to exercise any material, managerial or “any other influence over the affairs of a club” whether directly or indirectly.

Wolves’ managing director, Laurie Dalrymple, confirmed last week that Mendes advises the club’s owner, has given advice on players – the manager, Nuno Espírito Santo, is a longstanding Mendes client - and that players “connected” to Mendes have been signed. Dalrymple maintained that no rules have been broken. The FA has not commented.

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