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An analysis of The FA Football Agents Regulations and the RFU Regulation 8 (Agents) – Part 1

England Rugby Player Receives Ball
Thursday, 16 January 2014 By Charles Maurice

In this two part blog, Charles Maurice reviews The Football Association’s (“The FA”) and the Rugby Football Union’s (“RFU”) agent regulations. In part one, Charles highlights the similarities between the regulations and in part two he goes onto look at the subtle differences between them.

Everybody loves to hate agents. Everybody loves to hate lawyers. Snap! In a fit of solidarity I thought it might be interesting to a take a brief look at the rules and regulations which provide a framework within which agents must operate in two major sports in the UK: Football and Rugby (both sports that are dear to my heart - Crystal Palace and Cardiff Blues, if you're asking). When people think of agents, the immediate response is a wary one, only if due to the large sums of money agents are seen to make on the higher profile deals. The reality is subtly different, and for every high profile deal (be that a transfer or another commercial deal), there are many others which involve much smaller sums of money or are unsuccessful altogether. Equally, there are a number of agents whose representative services go far further than simply negotiating the best deals – many 'good' agents also aim to maximise the welfare of their clients, whether through ensuring a thorough exploitation of a client's commercial worth for the limited time of their career or through helping to manage the public-facing elements of a client's image (tip: treat twitter with care!).

The representative sports industry is a varied one, and one which, at its best, enables athletes to concentrate on their sporting achievements. Like many people, I really enjoy the ready availability of sport for the watcher, but am very aware of how this also comes at a price – the commercialisation of sport – which in my view is, for the most part, a price worth paying. As the global profile of Rugby has grown, so too has the profile of its top players, such that the same types of commercial issues arise in Rugby as they do in Football, even if the monetary values are often disparate. With that comes a greater role for the Rugby agent to match their Footballing counterparts. RFU Regulation 8 (the "RFU Regs") sets out the framework under which Rugby agents must operate in England (the rules are the same for the other home unions and stem from the underlying IRB rules), and the increased role for the Rugby agent begs the question as to whether these rules are adequate moving forward, or whether they ought to be revised to be in line with the far more comprehensive (and often nebulous) The FA Football Agents Regulations ("The FA Regs"), which in turn attract their own set of critics that question if they actually work at all.


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Charles Maurice

Charles Maurice

Charlie is a senior associate at Stevens & Bolton LLP and specialises in the sports, media and entertainment sectors. Charlie advises on a wide range of sporting issues and has particular experience in the motor racing and football industries. 

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