A major role of football agents is negotiating playing contracts and other commercial contracts for a particular footballer. The agent will usually be paid by a percentage of the money that the player earns, or an annual fee.
Football agents owing a fiduciary duty to the players whom they represent – to act in their best interests.
Can football agents also act on behalf of a football club?
Certain football clubs will employ licensed agents to negotiate a deal on their behalf with a particular player. This is because agents typically have the required skills and understanding of how to negotiate deals with particular players.
Can the same agent act for the player and the club wishing to sign that player?
Not in theory, as it is a direct conflict of interests, and not permitted by Article 19 of FIFA’s Players’ Agents Regulations.
Article 19 states: “A players’ agent may only represent the interests of one particular party per transaction. In particular a players’ agent is forbidden from having a representation contract, a cooperation agreement or shared interests with one of the other parties or with one of the other parties’ players’ agent involved in the player’s transfer or in the completion of the employment contract.”
What is meant by a conflict of interest?
A conflict of interest arises where the individual or organisation has an interest with either side of a transaction. In this context, there would be a clear conflict as a football agent would be in breach of his fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the player he is paid to represent, if he was to also represent the club negotiating with that player.
But football agents often act on behalf of both parties, don’t they?
Yes, in reality, they happen all the time in English football. However, this is acceptable so long as the parties comply with the relevant FA regulations – the FA’s Regulations on Working with Intermediaries. These rules require that:
- the agent acting as an intermediary has a pre-existing representation contract with the player which is lodged with the FA
- both the club and the player are aware of the existing conflict of interest
- both the club and the player are aware of the full details of the proposed dual representation
- both the club and the player are given the opportunity to seek independent legal advice
- both the club and the player consent to dual representation in writing, and
- where express consent to dual representation has not been given by one of the parties, the agent cannot act for the other party/ies or receive remuneration from them
There is also a duty of disclosure which applies to clubs, club officials, and the players themselves. Intermediaries must ensure any of the employees who are not registered intermediaries do not conduct intermediary activity. A
Are there sanctions in the event of a breach?
Under the FA rules, it is a misconduct offence for an intermediary to breach these rules; and it is an offence for a player to enter into a Representation Contract with an intermediary, whilst under an exclusive representation contract with another intermediary. Offences will be dealt with the Regulatory Commission of the FA.