Payments made by Leeds United to agents more than doubled last season, new figures released by the Football League show.
A total of £788,630 was paid by the club to players’ representatives during the 2010-11 campaign, a rise of almost half-a-million pounds on the previous year’s figure of £335,723.
The increase at Elland Road mirrored climbing fees throughout the Football League, with agents pulling in almost £16.7million through deals with sides in the Championship, League One and League Two.
The payments made by United arose from 56 different deals, including permanent transfers, loan signings and negotiations to improve or cancel players’ contracts.
It is understood that the extension of Luciano Becchio’s deal last December generated the biggest single outlay, a sum which ran into six figures. The highly-rated striker was at risk of becoming a free agent this summer before he agreed a new three-year contract with Leeds.
Five Championship clubs spent more on agents’ fees than United last season -Hull City, Leicester City, Middlesbrough, Queens Park Rangers and Reading - and only eight Football League teams paid no money to agents at all.
United chief executive Shaun Harvey said: “The club committed to these payments because we believed it was good value in the context of securing players’ services.
“It needs to be remembered that some of the payments were made on behalf of players and could therefore be seen as their liability and part of their overall salary package.
“We’ll continue to work with agents and make payments that we think are necessary as part of our overall objectives.”
Reflecting on the latest Football League figures, the governing body’s chairman, Greg Clarke, said: “These figures show that a considerable amount of money continues to leave the game through payments to agents.”
United, meanwhile, have been hit by another rearrangement to their calendar following the postponement of their visit to Birmingham City on Tuesday, September 27.
Birmingham’s involvement in the group stages of Europa League will prevent the fixture at St Andrews from going ahead as planned. A new date is yet to be announced.