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Will The FA have problems enforcing the Intermediaries Regulations?

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Thursday, 06 August 2015 By Thomas Barnard

The introduction of The FA’s “Regulations on Working with Intermediaries1 (the “Regulations”) in April 2015 has caused much to be written on the topics of how the Regulations will change the pre-existing landscape for agents;2 how the Regulations will work in practice;3 and whether there is ground to challenge the legality of the Regulations.4

However, there is little in the way of commentary as to the way in which The FA will enforce breaches of the Regulations. There are two particular issues here:

  1. How will the FA deal with disputes between Intermediaries and Players where the Intermediary and Player are each registered with different federations?
  2. How will the FA sanction those acting as Intermediaries where the “intermediaryis not formally regulated by the FA (ie. because they have refused to submit to the FA’s jurisdiction, instead seeking to work as de facto intermediaries in disregard of the Regulations)?

In the author’s view, the first question is one of jurisdiction, the answer being determined by asking which of the two (or more) federations, properly determined, has jurisdiction to hear the dispute.5

It is the second question that may require more thought in practice, and is that is subject of this article.


What is the problem?

The Regulations (and the common law principle of privity of contract) provide that the Regulations will only be enforceable by The FA against those that have submitted to The FA’s Rules by registering in accordance with Appendix II or III to the Regulations: if an agent has not submitted to The FA’s jurisdiction by registering as an Intermediary, then there is no contractual basis on which to submit the “intermediary” to The FA’s disciplinary processes.6

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Thomas Barnard

Thomas Barnard

Tom is a Senior Associate Solicitor specialising in commercial litigation and sports law. He acts for a wide variety of high-profile athletes, including cricketers, footballers, gymnasts and cyclists.

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