Avory wants action on illegal agent approaches

CHARLTON Academy manager Steve Avory says agents are routinely flouting FA rules by approaching players under the age of 16.

Agents are not allowed to either “directly or indirectly” approach players until “the 1st day in January of the year of the player’s sixteenth birthday,” according to FA regulations.

However, Avory, who runs one of the most successful Academies in English football, says he sees it happening all the time.

In an interview with Josh Schneider Weiler on the ‘This Football Life’ podcast, he called on authorities to properly tackle the issue, instead of allowing it to be “swept under the carpet.”

“What concerns me is the number of people that you see talking to parents in particular, if not directly to the players,” said Avory, who has been with Charlton since 2001.

“We try and control it here as much as we can in terms of not allowing agents in. A boy cannot sign with an agent until his sixteenth year, but unfortunately it's going on before that, in terms of the contact that agents and intermediaries are having with young boys and their families.

“It does concern me, that process of making contact with the families and courting the families - as well as the young players - for a number of years before they can legally sign them and the influence it may be having on parents and young players.

“All that needs a tighter control and it's a massive job. My concern is that it's being swept under the carpet.

“I feel that there just needs to be some control from the authorities who all need to come together on that, be it for the FA, Premier League, Football League.

“They all have a role to play I feel in trying to establish some control on the world of agents and the influence on young players.”

Despite being in League One, Charlton were SEVENTH in TGG’s Academy productivity rankings for last season.

The club has turned out a number of Premier League and international players, the most recent being Liverpool’s Joe Gomez, who made his England debut against Germany last November.

Avory joined as assistant Academy manager in 2001, before being promoted to the top job in 2010.

  • Rule B8 of FA rules on working with intermediaries: “An Intermediary must not, either directly or indirectly, make any approach to, or enter into any agreement with, a Player in relation to any Intermediary Activity before the 1st day in January of the year of the Player’s sixteenth birthday.”

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