The amount of money leaking from Football League clubs straight into the pockets of agents soared by nearly 30 per cent to £7.9million in the second half of last year.
Figures in the Agents' Fees Report published by the League today reveal that clubs in the Championship and Leagues One and Two committed £7.9m to agents between 1 July and 31 December 2007 compared with £6.2m in the
second half of 2006, reports the Daily Mail.
Lord Mawhinney, chairman of the Football League, sought to defend the increase by pointing out that a resurgent transfer market saw clubs splash out £42.1m on player acquisitions in the sample period last year compared with
just £21.7m spent 12 months earlier, a mammoth increase of 94 per cent.
Payments to agents, as a proportion of total transfer spending, thus fell to 19 per cent compared with 29 per cent for the same period in 2006.
Lord Mawhinney said: "I'm encouraged that a more buoyant transfer market has been coupled with a more disciplined approach to clubs' dealings with agents.
"Whilst £7.9m is still a lot of money leaving the game, it is clear that we are beginning to make progress in terms of establishing a fairer balance in the relationship between clubs, players and agents."
Charlton, newly relegated from the Premier League, made the biggest contribution to agents' bank balances by a London club of £782,305.
In contrast Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan, an outspoken critic of agents, paid out just £35,000. The £211,000 contributed by Queens Park Rangers is expected to rise significantly in the first half of this year, reflecting the
investment made on players by new co-owners Bernie Ecclestone, Flavio Briatore and Lakshmi Mittal.
Leicester City owner Milan Mandaric proved to be the agents' best friend, making payouts totalling £1,067,084.
But 19 clubs, including London trio Brentford, Barnet and Dagenham & Redbridge, did not commit any money at all to agents.