According to media reports, FIFA will soon introduce long-announced changes to the regulations regarding football agents (intermediaries). According to the disclosed information, the community of agents must prepare for several novelties. The information presented below is based on media reports and FIFA’s position on the upcoming amendment. The draft regulations have not yet been made public. It is therefore worth keeping track of the federation’s statements and its official announcements regarding the issue.
The reason and purpose of the changes
According to the official FIFA message, the aim of the regulation is to normalize the relation of players’ salaries to agents’ earnings. With the current regulations, there were supposed to be abuses by some agents. FIFA gives the example of a player whose agent was paid 118% of the player’s earnings by the club. Usually the relation between the agent’s and the player’s earnings is simple. It means that the higher the agent’s fee, the lower the player’s earnings. FIFA also refer to the financial report for 2020. Report documented that while transfer fees have decreased, overall spending on transfers has remained at a similar level. The reason being the rising salaries of intermediaries. The federation’s stated goal of the changes is to normalize the legal situation of football agents. Another goal is to eliminate the abuses cited above.
FIFA intends to introduce a maximum remuneration that can be received by an agent in connection with mediating in the conclusion of a contract. Currently there is talk of a limit of around 10 percent of the monetary value of the transfer and 3 percent of the value of the player’s earnings. Compared to the previously mentioned 118% of the player’s salary, these are very unfavorable and unpleasant changes for transfer agents. The intermediation of a particular agent in the conclusion of a contract and his margin would also be disclosed for each transaction. For this reason, many important agents have announced that they will take legal action against FIFA if regulations are introduced. The final shape of the regulations and possible legal action by agents is yet to be seen. It seems that there may indeed be grounds to initiate a case against FIFA.
The licensing system for agents
FIFA also intends to return to the old rules of examination and licensing of agents. It is not yet known how exactly the licensing rules would look like. Probably an agent without the appropriate license will not be able to participate in the transaction and thus receive remuneration. With too restrictive rules, however, there is a danger that services will be provided by people who will not obtain a license. It happened in the past, when the licensing system by FIFA was still in place.
Creation of a clearing house
The introduction of a special body to control money flows between clubs has also been announced. In addition to the advantages associated with facilitating the distribution of the solidarity fee, the body is also to monitor the remuneration of agents for individual transactions. This will certainly make it more difficult to circumvent salary cap regulations, but not likely impossible.
Court for agents
A special court for football agents has already been established at FIFA. The body is not yet operational. It will start hearing the first cases after the introduction of the new regulations. The court is supposed to be competent in settling cases of intermediaries. It can be compared to the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber for agents.
Will the new regulations really change anything?
As for now, we do not yet know the details of the introduced changes. From the announcements it seems, however, that the regulations will hit all agents – not only those who commit abuses. So we should expect that the new regulations will be widely circumvented. Effective ways of doing it already work in practice and it will not be necessary to introduce major modifications. The amendments may turn out to be revolutionary in theory, but at the same time will not have a major impact on the practice of trading.
Author: Mateusz Witkowski