PtG Article 26.09.2018

FIFA looks to change players’ agents regulations

An envisaged change in the FIFA regulations on players’ agents will help balance interests and ethics, said FIFA’s chief legal officer Emilio Garcia, speaking at the World Football Summit.

Madrid: FIFA is planning to intervene in regulation of players’ agents for the first time in 17 years to stem the flow of money flooding out of the game.

The pledge came from the world body’s new chief legal officer Emilio Garcia, who joined FIFA this month.

“We are working on agents’ regulation,” Garcia told the World Football Summit in Madrid. “We are not going back to the previous system, but there are problems.”

FIFA stopped directly licensing players’ agents in 2001, when national associations took over with a system involving an exam but this was widely discredited before being abolished in 2015.

The system meant anyone could essentially become an agent – or intermediary as they are now known – so parents or young players could take responsibility for their own children.

However, the amount of money earned by ‘agents’ has escalated with intermediaries often working for both players and clubs selling or signing them all on one deal.

Garcia, who joined FIFA from UEFA where he was managing director of integrity, made a reference to this, when he added: “We need to find a balance, where the agents are regulated.

“There is a balance between interests and ethics and quite often an agent represents a club and a player. We can’t have a situation where $400 million is going to the agents and only $60 million is going to the clubs who have trained these players.”

In England, Premier League clubs spent £211 million on fees to agents between February 2017 and January 2018. This was a rise of £37 million on the previous year.

After the Football Association revealed these figures in April this year, the Association of Football Agents in England warned that any changes would stop its members earning a living.

Garcia is nonplussed by these concerns and told the WFS: “We need to find a balance where agents are necessary but we must protect the clubs. We will find a better system than the one before we had intermediaries.”

If FIFA does take direct action, this will be the world body’s first direct action in regulating agents since 2001.

Freelance journalist Steve Menary is covering the World Football Summit for Play the Game.

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