Football

English Premier League embroiled in agent dispute

Published 0905 GMT (1705 HKT) May 30, 2013
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Argentine Claudio Yacob has made an instant impact at West Bromwich Albion. His Engish Premier League debut came on the opening day of last season as Yacob helped Albion beat Liverpool 3-0 at the Hawthorns in August 2012. But the story of his move to England is less straightforward..... Getty Images
West Brom's former sporting and technical director Dan Ashworth was a key figure behind the club's success, before he started working for the Englsh Football Association in March. Ashworth, who was closely involved in bringing Yacob to the West Brom, is pictured here with Albion manager Steve Clarke. Getty Images
"I take training very seriously, as if it was the match -- I think that's my secret," Yacob told the Guardian newspaper in October. "Argentine players want to win. We do not like to lose." Clint Hughes/Getty Images/file
"Claudio's a typical Argentine No 5. In his homeland, that is someone who breaks up play and keeps the ball," said West manager Clarke of his midfielder. Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
But Yacob's move to West Brom raises questions about the influence of unlicensed agents in football transfers. Yacob is pictured here playing for West Brom in their final league game of the season against English Premier League champions Manchester United, which ended in a 5-5 draw. Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images
In July 2012, West Brom wrote a letter in support of visa applications for Yacob and his brother Diego as well as Jose Daniel Villagran and Oscar Bianco to bring them over from Argentina. Just what was the role -- if any -- of Villagran and Bianco in this transfer?
Yacob joined West Brom from Argentine team Racing Club de Avellaneda. He broke into Racing's first team at the age of 17 and was appointed their captain while still in his teens. AFP/Getty Images
West Brom defender Jonas Olsson has compared Yacob to Barcelona's holding midfielder Javier Mascherano. Yacob is pictured here celebrating Argentina's FIFA Under-20 World Cup final win over the Czech Republic at the National Soccer Stadium in Toronto, Canada. Getty Images
The 25-year-old Yacob has won three international caps and scored against Ecuador in a friendly. AFP/Getty Images
FIFA estimates as few as 30% of international transfers are concluded using licensed agents. FIFA's Transfer Matching System requires both clubs in a player's move to enter verified details of the payments and parties involved online. Harold Cunningham/Getty Images
"We do not comment on whether or not we are looking into such matters," said the English Football Association after CNN asked the organization to confirm if the governing body was investigating Yacob's transfer to West Brom. Getty Images