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EFL clears Wolves' Mendes line-up after Radrizzani outburst

Wolves celebrate their promotion to the Premier League.
Wolves celebrate their promotion to the Premier League.
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The EFL has cleared Wolverhampton Wanderers of any breaches of its rules following criticism from Leeds United and other Championship sides of the club’s relationship with agent Jorge Mendes.

The EFL sought fresh clarification from Wolves owner Fosun about its connection with Mendes after Leeds chairman Andrea Radrizzani mounted a public attack on the link-up between the newly-promoted Molineux club and one of Europe’s most powerful representatives.

Radrizzani questioned the influence of Mendes after Wolves routed Leeds in a one-sided league game at Elland Road in March, accusing Wanderers of maintaining a set-up which was “not legal or fair”.

A subsidiary of Fosun, which took control at Molineux in 2016, owns a stake in Mendes’ agency Gestifute and a number of Mendes clients were signed by Wolves last summer, underpinning their impressive run to automatic promotion from the Championship.

Radrizzani hit out at the arrangement having sold shares in a separate agency, Football Capital, prior to his first investment in Leeds in December 2006. The Italian believed that retaining the stake would be in breach of EFL and Football Association rules on ownership.

FA regulations prohibit club owners from owning significant stakes in agencies. Agents are also barred from having a “material influence” over the running of clubs.

Wolves won promotion to the top flight earlier this month and the Premier League is currently looking into their arrangement with Mendes.

A statement from the EFL failed to address the potential breach of FA rules but said it was satisfied that Wolves were compliant with its own requirements on governance.

“Following the commitment made in March, as a result of some concerns raised by a number of Championship clubs, the EFL has met with Wolverhampton Wanderers to ensure compliance with the requirements of its regulations,” the statement read.

“At that meeting a request for information was made by the EFL and following a comprehensive review of the detail subsequently provided by the club, it has been determined that Mr Mendes holds no role at the club and, as such should not be categorised as a ‘relevant person’ as defined by League regulations. On this basis there is no requirement for him to submit to the Owners and Directors Test.”

Following his outburst, Radrizzani suggested that he was keen to replicate Wolves’ model of recruitment and had sought clarification from the EFL in order to clear the way for him to pursue a similar strategy.