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Rethinking agents’ regulations: why clubs & players should take more responsibility

Football Players
Friday, 28 February 2020 By Toni Roca, Xavi Fernández

Last September, the FIFA’s Football Stakeholders Committee endorsed[1] a series of important changes in relation to agents[2] (a review of which is available here for background reading[3]). Four of those key measures have been largely welcomed across the sector, namely: 

  1. reintroduction of a mandatory licensing system for agents to raise professional standards, which will include further education measures and a requirement for continuing professional development;
  2. all agents’ commissions to be paid via the FIFA Clearing House, which is currently being developed;
  3. the reinstatement of an effective FIFA dispute resolution system to address disputes between agents, players and clubs; and
  4. the disclosure and publishing of all agent-related work in transfers, to increase transparency, improve the credibility of the transfer system and support the implementation of new regulations.

However, there are two measures that have raised a huge controversy in the industry:

  1. the limitation of multiple representation to avoid conflicts of interest and,
  2. above all, the establishment of a cap on agents’ commissions.

FIFA is currently developing these proposals to be turned into regulations that we can expect by the second half of this year 2020.

Agents’ (led by super agents Mino Raiola, Jorge Mendes and Jonathan Barnett, among others, and the other members of the Association for Football Agents and the European Football Agents Association (EFAA) have threatened FIFA with legal action over plans for a cap on transfer payments, in what appears to be a very interesting dispute. [4]

This article analyses the controversy and asks whether FIFA’s new approach is the right one.  Specifically, it examines:

  • Whether agents’ commissions are really that high
  • How we ended up in this situation
    • The role of FIFA’s regulations
      • Amounts of commission
      • Duel representation
    • The conduct of the clubs
  • The authors’ recommendations for improving agents’ regulation

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Written by

Toni Roca

Toni Roca

Toni is a sports lawyer and partner at Corner Abogado, Palma de Mallorca (Spain).  He advises clubs, agents, sportsmen and federations on matters including transfer and contracting of players, dispute resolution before national and international bodies (FIFA, CAS); sponsorship and image rights and disciplinary proceedings.

He is also Chief Executive Officer at Football Transfer Watch, Palma de Mallorca (Spain), who specialise in efficient player transfer monitoring and end-to-end claim management solutions for football clubs around the world.
Academic Information 
- Degree in Law by the University of the Balearic Islands.
- Master in Sports Law. 
- Master in Tax Law. 
- Master in Labour Law. 
- Member of the Madrid Bar Association
- Member of the Spanish Sports Law Association.
- Member of the Esports Bar Association.
- Professor of the LLM Master in International Sports Law at ISDE.
- Professor of the Master in Sports Management  and Legal Skill with FC Barcelona. 
- Member of different Disciplinary Committees in Olympic Federations.
Languages: Spanish, Catalan, English and German.

Xavi Fernández

Xavi Fernández

Xavi is a sports lawyer at Himnus - Football Lawyers. He advises clubs, agents, and sportspersons on matters including transfer and contracting of players, dispute resolution before national and international bodies (FIFA and CAS), sponsorship and image rights, and disciplinary proceedings.
Academic information:
- Degree in Law by the University of Girona
- Master's for Access to the Legal Profession, ISDE Barcelona
- Master's in Sports Management & Legal Skills with FC Barcelona, ISDE Barcelona
Languages spoken:Catalan, Spanish and English

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