Officials at the EFL are to meet with Wolverhampton Wanderers to discuss the club’s contentious relationship with agent Jorge Mendes following Andrea Radrizzani’s attack on the Molineux club.
The EFL plans to send its executive to re-examine Wolves’ financial arrangements and the nature of their tie-up with Mendes amid sudden scrutiny of the way in which Wanderers have pieced together their squad.
Wolves are on the verge of automatic promotion from the Championship with 10 games of the season to go and they cruised to an easy 3-0 win at Elland Road on Wednesday, a fixture which exposed a huge gulf in class between Leeds and the division’s leading side.
Leeds are down in 13th place and nine points off the play-offs after a prolonged loss of form but Radrizzani chose full-time as his opportunity to issue a series of tweets accusing Wolves of practices which were “not legal and fair”.
Wolves’ Chinese owner, Fosun International, has a stake in Mendes’ agency Gestifute and a number of Mendes’ clients, both players and manager Nuno, are on the books at Molineux.
Leeds were one of several clubs who wanted the EFL to investigate how Wolves succeeded in bringing players of the calibre of Portugal international Ruben Neves to the Championship and at least one Championship side is understood to have sent a formal letter of complaint to the governing body.
The EFL has consistently maintained that Fosun, which bought 100 per cent of Wolves in 2016, passed its Owners and Directors Test and is compliant with governance rules but its board, including chief executive and former Leeds CEO Shaun Harvey, agreed at a meeting this morning to seek further talks with Wanderers’ senior management.
An EFL statement read: “At its meeting today, the EFL Board considered at length the matter of the relationship between Wolverhampton Wanderers, majority shareholder of the club Fosun and Jorge Mendes in light of the recent concerns raised by a number of clubs.
“It was agreed that the EFL Executive will meet with the management of the club to reiterate the requirements of our regulations and those of the FA, and will report back to the board in due course.
“It should be noted that the club was explicitly informed in July 2016 of all the requirements it was expected to meet as part of the change of control, and appropriate arrangements were put in place to ensure compliance.
“The club has confirmed that the undertakings given at the time remain in place and are being complied with.”
Radrizzani, who could face a disrepute charge for his outburst on Wednesday, addressed the issue by tweeting: “We have our own problems but we should play in a fair competition.
“Not legal and fair (to) let one team owned by a fund whom has shares in the biggest players agency with evident benefits (top European clubs giving players with options to buy ..why the other 23 teams can’t have same treatment). We should play all 24 with the same rules and opportunities (it’s enough to google it).
“Congratulations to the best team but hope the league can be fair and equal to all 24 teams.”
Radrizzani himself sold a stake he held in a football agency, Football Capital, and resigned as one of the company’s directors prior to completing his initial purchase of 50 per cent of shares in Leeds in December 2016, believing the sale was necessary to comply with EFL ownership rules.
Radrizzani clarified his comments in a further tweet tonight, saying: “Firstly I would like to be clear that I have great respect for Nuno Santos and his team who have performed extremely well throughout the course of this season.
“I used last night (sic) fixture to raise long standing concerns that I have regarding agencies having direct influence within clubs which I believe could breach EFL rules.
“The aim is to open a transparent debate regarding the rules and motivate the institutions to be vigilant with anything that can spoil the fairness of the competition which I am encouraged to see the EFL taking seriously as per their statement earlier today.
“I believe it is vital for clubs in the Championship and beyond to operate on a level playing field.”