Proactive brings in Monk to rebuff negative reports

Proactive Sports Group, the sports management firm that counts Everton wunderkind Wayne Rooney on its books, has hired Ian Monk Associations as its first retained agency.

Brought on board following a ‘personal recommendation’, Monk is to handle all issues of corporate reputation and crisis management for the company.

The firm manages around 100 Premiership players and has marketing deals with brands such as Nike, Nationwide and Coca-Cola.

Monk takes up the account, understood to carry annual fees of close to £100,000, as police continue to probe News of the World claims of death threats against Rooney and Proactive founder Paul Stretford.

The brief centres on establishing a presence for the firm and improving Proactive’s image. Recent media reports have alleged conflicts of interest in its shareholding structure, with managers such as Kevin Keegan and Sir Bobby Robson all holding stakes, despite doing business with the firm.

Monk said the account was ‘heavy media relations’ as the ‘media perception needs to be brought into line with reality’.

‘There has been a certain amount of mischief-making,’ he said. ‘Football agents in general have come under scrutiny – much of it unfair – in the changing business environment of the football industry.’

Monk added that Proactive has ‘not been exempt from this’ coverage.

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