Aidy Ward, the agent who forced through Raheem Sterling’s move from Liverpool, has been suspended from football with immediate effect.
Ward was a name that became very familiar to Liverpool supporters in 2015 due to his efforts in driving a wedge between Sterling and the club.
Sterling, who rose to prominence under Brendan Rodgers in the 2013/14 season, was attracting interest from Man City, who saw a series of early bids rejected.
The winger phoned in sick for training and then missed the Reds’ pre-season tour of the Far East and Australia, with Ward blamed for his influence.
A £49 million deal was eventually struck with Man City, after Steven Gerrard criticised his team-mate for the “carry-on” involved in pushing for the exit.
Ward later gave an interview to the Mail in which he blamed Liverpool’s PR initiative that saw him “become the bad guy,” before insisting he had “no issue with anyone but Rodgers.”
Nevertheless, his reputation on Merseyside was damaged beyond repair, with striker Jerome Sinclair later signing with Ward’s Colossal Sports Management agency before his move away from Anfield in 2016.
Now, the FA have confirmed that Ward and Colossal Sports Management have been suspended from “all intermediary activity” until December 5, 2024.
The near-20-month ban relates to their attempt to begin representation of a minor, with approaches to players prohibited before January 1 in the year in which they turn 16.
An FA statement reads:
“It was alleged that Adrian Ward had directly or indirectly made an approach to a minor on behalf of Colossal Sports Management Ltd at various points between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019.
“Adrian Ward was charged with misconduct in relation to FA Rule E1(b), and Colossal Sports Management Ltd was charged with misconduct in relation to various breaches of FA Rule E1(b) and Regulation B8 and B8(i), but they were all denied.
“An independent Regulatory Commission found all of the charges to be proven and imposed these sanctions, and its written reasons for these decisions will be published in due course.”
Ward and Colossal Sports Management were initially charged in March 2022, with both parties now lodging appeals against the decision.
Sterling ended his association with Ward in January 2021 and is now self-represented.
Sinclair, who joined Watford after turning down Liverpool’s contract offer in 2016, has been without a club for almost two years after a loan spell with CSKA Sofia ended in 2021.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, meanwhile, remains the most high-profile client on Colossal Sports Management’s roster, with the suspension coming at a time in which he will be seeking a new club.