Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers may potentially face an unexpected setback in their bid to become a Premier League club, despite gaining promotion last Saturday.
According to an article in the Guardian, Wolves' relationship with 'super agent' Jorge Mendes may constitute a breach of FA rules intended to prevent conflicts of interest.
One of the FA's regulations states: "[An] entity with an interest in a club shall not have any interest in the business or affairs of an intermediary or an intermediary’s organisation."
Another rule states that agents must have no "material influence" over a club's operations.
However, Wolves have openly admitted that Fosun, the Chinese conglomerate which has owned the club since 2016, "have a percentage stake in the Gestifute company headed up by Jorge Mendes".
In addition, speaking on Sky TV and quoted in the same Guardian article, the club's managing director Laurie Dalrymple claimed that Fosun "canvassed advice" from Mendez before purchasing Wolves.
The Portuguese agent also played a role in securing the services of manager Nuno Espírito Santo - one of his clients - and several of the promotion-winning squad's best players, such as £15.8m signing Rúben Neves.
Both the FA and the EFL are satisfied that Wolves' relationship with Mendes is not in breach of the rules, but no explanation of this has been forthcoming from either body.
This apparent anomaly has not passed unnoticed by Wolves' rivals, with Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani tweeting:
"Not legal and fair to let one team owned by a fund who has shares in the biggest players’ agency with evident benefits (top European clubs giving players with options to buy) … why the other 23 teams can’t have the same treatment?"
I am disappointed as all our fans for our recent results but I would like to clarify here my opinion about last nights tweets which create a lot of criticism. Our performances and the request of clarification on these matter are totally different issues pic.twitter.com/qnlYa2z1sm— Andrea Radrizzani (@andrearadri) March 8, 2018
Radrizzani also wrote to the EFL, the FA and the Premier League to request an explanation of how Mendes' relationship with Wolves was in compliance with the rules.
Despite these issues, it would be astonishing if the regulatory process to confirm Wolves' status as a Premier League club - which will get underway soon - turned out to be anything other than a formality, especially in light of the club's approval by the FA and EFL.
Wolves' promotion to the Premier League was confirmed last Saturday when Fulham failed to defeat Brentford, meaning the Cottagers could no longer catch the Midlands side.