Can a football player negotiate with another agent while under an exclusive representation agreement?
One of the common questions raised by football agents, in the author’s experience, is the question of whether a football player can negotiate and conclude an agreement with another football agent while having signed an exclusive representation agreement with another agent. The short answer is no (except for the last two months of the contract), however, it is worth to avoid confusion, explicitly setting out why this is the case.
Article 12 (13) of the FIFA Football Agents Regulation (FFAR), the regulations which ‘govern the occupation of Football Agents within the international transfer system’ (Article 2(1)), states:
"Any clause in a Representation Agreement that:
- a) limits an Individual’s ability to autonomously negotiate and conclude an employment contract without the involvement of a Football Agent; and/or
- b) penalises an Individual if they autonomously negotiate and/or conclude an employment contract without the involvement of a Football Agent,
will be null and void."
While this is clearly not the case, and this may be obvious to a trained lawyer upon reading of the regulations, the author has been approached by non-legally qualified clients, particularly those translating the regulations to their native language, who believed these provisions restrict them from adding exclusivity restrictions in the Representation Agreements on the ‘principal’ (i.e. the party being represented by the agent). Therefore, this article is aimed to provide further clarity for the non-legally trained agents, and players.
FIFA’s Member Associations ‘must implement and enforce national football agent regulations by 30 September 2023’ consistent with these Regulations [FFAR]’ to approve national football agent regulations . Article 2 of the “Model National Football Agents Regulations” published by FIFA states that the licenses released by a National Association will be considered valid only if they have been obtained through a system duly recognized by FIFA. However, there is always a risk that the translation, or at least interpretation, of the national football agent regulations, deviates from FFAR.
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Rasoul is a Lawyer and his practice focuses on sports law, with extensive practice experience of dealing with sports matters, whether contentious or non-contentious, including in respect of all legal issues pertaining to football. Furthermore, He is legal advisor of Iranian baseball/softball association.
Rasoul has represented clients before dispute resolution and disciplinary bodies of Iranian Football Federation, FIFA and the CAS, and frequently advises top football players, coaches, agents, and clubs in Iran. Also, He is a lecturer in Football Law for lawyers, and football agents in Iran.
He regularly provides comments and analysis on legal issues in sport for Iranian news agencies and often national TV. He can be found at Linkedin here.