LONDON, May 26 (UPI) -- The lid has come off the financial dealings of Manchester United, the world's richest professional sports franchise, the Independent reported Wednesday.
A conflict between two shareholders of the Manchester United soccer club and the manager has forced the club to publish embarrassing details surrounding players' transfers and massive payments to agents.
It turns out MU paid more than $24.5 million to agents during the past three years and some $286 million in transfer fees to sign 21 players.
The report, released to the Stock Exchange, comes as a result of a conflict between Irish tycoons John Magnier and J.P. McManus, who are major shareholders, and club manager Alex Ferguson.
The conflict with Ferguson began over stud rights of the racehorse Rock of Gibraltar.
United acknowledged Tuesday that it needed to introduce greater transparency to safeguard the club's reputation. It feared a backlash from shareholders.
"This is not just about United," a spokesman said. "The whole business of appointing agents and the amount they get paid needs to be more transparent."