Hardy leads fight against scam artists

Last updated : 28 January 2009 By Dave Moore
An elaborate scam, in which overseas players are being duped out of money in return for a supposed trials at Athletic, is being investigated and the Latics are doing their best to help catch the perpetrators. Unscrupulous individuals are passing themselves off as licensed agents in order to con players into parting with large sums of money with the promise of trials at Boundary Park and other English clubs. Athletic have received correspondence from players who have been targeted from Australia, America and Africa. The 'agents' say flights and accommodation will be paid for by the clubs, but they request a payment of around £650 to cover medical insurance. The con men are hard to trace as they use pay-as-you-go mobile phones.

Alan Hardy said, "I feel desperately sorry for young players, often in their teens, who are being tricked into parting with money on the pretence that they will be given a trial with us or at another English club. All we can do is advise players to contact the police in their countries. We also stress to players they should never part with money for a trial because football clubs don't charge. They are usually invited directly by the club for a trial, though they normally have to pay their own travelling expenses."