Thursday, December 10, 2009

FIFA Will Continue To Regulate Use Of Player Agents

There has been much misinformation in the UK press recently about FIFA’s plans to abandon the regulation of player agents (scroll down within link). FIFA is not about to ‘abandon its global transfer market supervisory role’, as reported, but has realised that under the current system, only 25% to 30% of all international transfers can be regulated, as that is the percentage of transfers that are conducted via licensed agents.


A new approach is needed, and FIFA has sensibly realised that football can only control that which it regulates. FIFA regulates clubs and players, and so instead of trying to convince all agents that they need a licence, has decided that clubs and players’ use of third parties intermediaries during a player transfer will be regulated instead. That way, football can regulate the use of an unlicensed agent, which it currently cannot do.


As World Sports Law Report reported back in September, FIFA’s Legal Director, Marco Villiger, told a 15 July press conference: “Under the current system, unlicensed agents cannot be detected. Clubs will not tell FIFA that they used an unlicensed agent - if a club launched a complaint with FIFA, then there is a risk that the investigation will involve them and they would have to prove that they have not contacted an unlicensed agent. The system as it is now doesn't work."  


As WSLR reported, FIFA’s plans have to pass several committees and will not be presented to the Executive Committee until March 2010. FIFA told David Winnie of Hammonds that contrary to reports, a circular has not been sent to national associations about FIFA’s plans (thanks for your assistance, David).


You cannot blame football agents for being against the plans, as reported. If they are a licensed agent, then they have their ‘respectability’ edge over unlicensed agents to lose. If they are an unlicensed agent, then they face having to operate within FIFA guidelines, losing their ‘competitive’ edge over licensed agents. Perhaps the fact that all agents feel that FIFA has got it wrong, in this case means that FIFA has got it right…


Andy Brown


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