Radrizzani bitter about Wolves links with ‘super-agent’
Thursday, 8th Mar 2018 00:05 by Tim Whelan
Andrea Radrizzani was not a happy man during our 3-0 defeat by Wolverhampton Wanderers, and didn’t wait for the end of the game before taking to Twitter to complain about the set-up at the West Midlands club.
Our owner’s social media outburst said "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, why the other 23 teams can't have same treatment ? We should play all 24 with the same rules and opportunities”
And then he re-tweeted Phil Hay’s comment “ ‘One Jorge Mendes’ coming from the away end. Surely a first.” The Yorkshire Post journalist was commenting that it was unprecedented for a group of fans to be singing the praises of an agent, one who you would expect to be solely concerned with representing the interest of his clients, rather than involved with the running of a club.
The extent of 'super-agent' Mendes’ influence at Wolves will now be discussed at an EFL board meeting this week after several Championship clubs raised the issue, with Leeds believed to have been one of them.
The Football Association's rules on third-party ownership state: "No club may enter into an agreement which enables any party, other than the club itself, to influence materially the club's policies or the performance of its teams or players in matches and/or competitions."
Since the summer of 2016 Wolves have been owned by Chinese company Fosun, who have a percentage stake in the Gestifute company headed up by Jorge Mendes. Mendes is believed to have identified Wolves as a target for Fosun to take over, and to have been heavily involved in a number of the club’s dealings since then.
Not only does Mendes represent head coach Nuno Espirito Santo, who joined them at the start of the current season, but also a number of the key players signed during Fosun’s period of ownership. These include club record signing Ruben Neves (at £15.8m) and striker Diogo Jota, who is with them on loan from Atletico Madrid.
But Wolves have repeatedly said that Mendes is only assisting the club in an advisory capacity, and they do not believe they have broken any rules. Managing director, Laurie Dalrymple, acknowledged that Mendes was a “known associate” but said that he was simply “Someone, because of the friendship with the owners, that we take opinions and advice from.”
It has also been suggested that Wolves will be in danger of breaking the Football League’s Financial Fair Play regulations, yet the club claim to be "entirely comfortable" that they will be able to comply with the rules. These limit clubs to a loss of £39m over a 3 year period, but they will be aided by the £7.5m profit made by the previous owners before the Chinese group took control.
In the aftermath of Wolves’ win at Elland Road, their coach Nuno Espirito Santo responded to Radrizzani’s comments when he spoke to Wolverhampton Express and Star ."First of all I say again, I don't care. What we see on the pitch is a group of very hard working people, our only focus is on the game. We don't care, it's like shouting, 'we don't care' because it has nothing to do with us.”
"We compete fairly and when we win we deserve it. We're humble enough to recognise when people are better than us but we don't go sending messages into the air, we're very straight on what we say." None of which actually refutes any of the claims made by Radrizzani and others.
Whether the Football League will take such a relaxed attitude to Wolves alleged breach of the regulations is something we will find out later this week.
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