Ex-Everton chief ‘concerned’ by Tottenham-Defoe case as potential ‘review’ sets up ‘legal free-for-all’

Lewis Oldham
Tottenham under threat
Tottenham under scrutiny over Jermain Defoe transfer.

Ex-Everton chief Keith Wyness has responded as the FA consider ‘reviewing’ the £7.5m transfer which saw Tottenham sell Jermaine Defoe to Portsmouth in 2008.

After it was confirmed that Everton have been docked 10 points for breaking one of the Premier League’s financial rules, an article from The Times revealed that the FA are prepared to ‘review evidence of potentially serious breaches of agent rules’ when Tottenham sold Jermain Defoe in 2008.

The Times‘ Matt Lawton appeared on talkSPORT to reveal that unlicensed agent Mitchell Thomas had been a “central figure in negotiations” for the £7.5m transfer.

“The view was he’d used a guy called Stuart Peters, a licensed agent, and the assistance also Mitchell Thomas, the ex-Tottenham and West Ham footballer, who was an unlicensed agent,” Lawton said via talkSPORT.

“So there was a private arbitration and there was some reporting around this at the time but we don’t get to hear these arbitrations, what’s happened, we don’t get to hear the outcome or anything. Actually what we now know is that the outcome of this, Sky won the case and the panel, three QC’s at the time concluded that Mitchell Thomas, an unlicensed agent, had been a central figure in this negotiation.

“He basically helped broker the deal and had been involved in dealing with Tottenham, with Daniel Levy the Tottenham Chairman, had dealt with Harry Redknapp the Portsmouth manager, had dealt on countless occasions on the day of the transfer with Defoe himself. This was all detailed in phone records that had to be acquired through a High Court application and once the panel had these phone records, they then realised that there were potential breaches of FIFA agent rules and FA agent rules.

“These rules are in place to protect the integrity not just of football but of the transfer market, they’re are very serious rules that have to be complied with.”

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Former Everton and Aston Villa CEO Wyness reckons every Premier League club has “skeletons in the closet” and this Spurs case sets up a potential “legal free-for-all”.

“This is my big concern,” Wyness told Football Insider. “All of a sudden, you may now see everybody suing everybody else.

“The whole thing just descends into a mess. There are skeletons in football, there’s no big secret.

“Deals have been done over the years that probably shouldn’t have. It’s been a soap opera, football.

“There’s probably skeletons in every closet at every club, somewhere.

“If this Tottenham case opens it up and it starts to become a legal free-for-all, then we might as well just watch the court hearings and not Match of the Day.”