What are the implications following FIFA’s recent claims that the current regime surrounding the regulation of football agents is not working?

Football Agents

Football agents are individuals who act on behalf of a football player in order to negotiate the best football and commercial contracts for that player. Agents will be required to have signed a contract with that player in which their payment terms will be stipulated – for example they will either be paid a fixed annual sum or will be paid a percentage of the money made by the player.

FIFA Licensed Agents

For a football agent to operate and represent a professional footballer, according to the rules set down by the International Governing Body of football – FIFA, they will need to be an officially licensed agent.

For an agent to represent a player playing in a specific league he will be required to have obtained a licence from the national governing body in that country. For example an agent representing an English footballer in England will have to be licensed by the Football Association.

What are the problems with the current regime?

The problems with the current regime are that many players still use the services of un-licensed agents. It is estimated that only a small percentage of players use licensed agents which is a huge problem for the footballing authorities.

Furthermore as the licenses under the current regime are issued by the National Governing Bodies it is difficult to sanction as the Football Association in England has no power against agents bases in countries overseas.

What changes is FIFA proposing?

FIFA is proposing that control should be developed on a worldwide level rather than a national level and that FIFA will be able to hand down sanctions for breaches of the rules.

How does FIFA propose to do this?

FIFA proposes to do this by sanctioning the individual clubs and players who breach the rules on agents rather than FIFA handing down sanctions on the agents themselves. For example if a player is to breach the rules about using an unlicensed agent then the player rather than the agent will be punished by FIFA. The agent will still be punished by the national association in the fact that he will be known as an unlicensed agent and will not be able to apply to become a licensed agent.

What is the rationale behind FIFA’s proposals?

The rationale behind FIFA’s proposals is that the sanctions will be so heavy on the player or the club that it will serve as a deterrent for a player or a club to do this.

Will the new proposed system work?

If the system proposed by FIFA is to work then more regulations will have to be created in order to provide full details of how the system will work. There are however, certain advantages to the system:

  • Agents not based in a certain country will be able to be punished for wrongdoing in relation to activities in that country

  • More regulation and authority will be gained to deal with agents that act on behalf of the non-footballing commercial interests of football players – currently there is little regulation from the Football Association on this matter

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For more information on:

  • Examples of activities by clubs
  • Are there any disadvantages to the proposed system?
  • Are there any other ways which the regulation of agents can be improved?
  • Football Association Designated Bank Account
  • The FIFA Transfer Matching System