From April 1, 2015 the system of licensing football agents will be abolished, and all existing football agents’ licenses will cease to have effect immediately (see, Regulation 11). Instead, FIFA’s Regulations provide a replacement called: Player’s Intermediary.
I guess you would want to find out what the new order would look like, then read on.
- Any natural or legal person (i.e. including a company) can act as an Intermediary and represent football players or clubs in contract or transfer negotiations;
- National Associations must register Intermediaries involved in transactions (Regulation 3);
- National Associations must be satisfied the Intermediary has an “impeccable reputation” and not a conflict of interest. However, in order to be so satisfied they just need to have a form signed by the Intermediary certifying that he has not had a criminal record imposed upon him for “financial or violent crime”, he has no relationship with other associations that give him a conflict of interest, and he shall abide by the Regulations and the other various relevant rules (Regulation 4, and annexes 1 and 2);
- Agency Contracts can be for any period (under current Regulations an agent can only represent a Player for a maximum of 2 years under any one Representation Contract) so long as they state the term of the Agreement (Regulation 5);
- Payments to Intermediaries must still be disclosed to the relevant association (Regulation 6);
- FIFA recommends that there be a 3% cap on remuneration paid to Intermediaries (their remuneration not to exceed 3% of the player’s basic gross income) – this is in contrast to the current system where there is no cap but the market rate is often between 5-10% (but can of course be more) (Regulation 7);
- Intermediaries may not receive any remuneration at all from services provided in relation to a Player who is under the age of 18, but may enter into an agreement with them when under the age of 18, with no minimu age, so long as the player’s legal guardians sign the contract in accordance with applicable national law (Regulations 5 and 7) – under the FA Agents’ Regulations currently in force agents can be remunerated in respect of players aged 17 and over, but cannot enter agreements with players below the age of 16;
- Similar (but far less detailed) provisions as to Conflicts of Interest that exist in the current system apply (Regulation 8);
- National Associations will be responsible for imposing any sanctions on parties within their jurisdiction that violate the Regulations (Regulation 9);
- National Associations are required to implement and enforce the FIFA Regulations, but are entitled to go beyond the “minimum standards” in them (Regulation 1);
Why has FIFA decided to de-regulate football agents? The short answer appears to come down to expediency. Whilst most European national football associations have managed relatively well to regulate the activity of football agents, FIFA has failed to do so, particularly in some parts of the world. FIFA seems to lack both the resources and the will to rectify this. Instead, the simple solution is just to abandon the licensing system altogether.