How to become a football players agent/intermediary
Most football aficionados will probably have heard of Mino Raiola, Pere Guardiola, Jorge Mendes or Pini Zahavi to name just a few of the agents whom represent the biggest starts in football but there are approximately 6000 other less famous and successful licensed agents and probably even more non-licensed agents out there. For the less famous and successful agents their job is not glamorous but just plain old fashioned hard work. Nevertheless the profession still appeals to many persons with a passion for the game of football but how can you become and agent?
The world knows thousands of agents but only a minority reaches a 6 figures income
Licensing replaced by Registration
Actually per 1 April 2015 it will be very easy to join the ranks of ‘registered’ football agents. A candidate (person or organisation) will only have to register with a national football association and sign a statement that he has an impeccable reputation. The only persons excluded are those who have an contractual relationship with. See Art. 4 FIFA Regulations on Working with Intermediaries. On a national level and national associations are free to add additional requirements, but FIFA is perfectly happy if only the minimal requirements are met.
A candidate will not have to pass an exam anymore nor will he have to conclude a liability insurance or provide a guarantee from a Swiss bank for CHF 100.000. The Players Agents Regulations 2008 and it’s license requirements will be history.
Per 1 April 2015 anybody who has no contractual relationship with a leagues, association, confederation or FIFA can becomes an agent via a simple registration
What does a players ’ agent do?
The FIFA defines an intermediary as ‘A natural or legal person who, for a fee or free of charge, represents players and/or clubs in negotiations with a view to concluding an employment contract or represents clubs in negotiations with a view to concluding a transfer agreement’.
So an intermediary represents for a fee or a charge:
- players in negotiations with a view to concluding an employment contract; and/or
- clubs in negotiations with a view to concluding:
- an employment employment agreement or
- a transfer agreement.
Except for the negotiation of transfer agreements his work doesn’t differ a lot from the work of other intermediaries such as headhunters or recruitment agencies in any other industry. However football has it’s industry specific rules that require a good knowledge of national labor law and football regulations.
The relationship between an agent and a player often doesn’t end with job placement.
There is a sports career to be managed. Advise the player which steps to make or how to act in crucial circumstances and protect his interest during his stay with a club. Depending on his popularity there are image rights to be managed. With more and more money coming in the need for tax planning will increase also and maybe security risks have to be dealt with. Fame and money do not come without risks.
These ‘management’ activities have nothing to do with mediation of employment and are not regulated by the FIFA.
Cross border aspects
36.8% in the top 31 European leagues are foreigners according to CIES Demographic Study 2014 . How exotic cross border transfers might look they do not make the work of an agent easier. In his domestic market an agent has to deal with often conflicting rules of the national legislator and regulations of his association and FIFA but when he steps into the arena of international transfers it gets even more complicated for him because of again different rules and legislation in the other country. An agent who is not well prepared will step easily in a pitfall.
The work of an intermediary is fairly complicated and requires a good understanding of labor law, rules of association(s) and how they relate to each other.
Recommended basic knowledge
Although the exams will be history per 1 April 2015 it is recommended that the new registered agents know the rules and regulations. For the April 2014 examination the material that had to be studied consisted of the following documents:
- FIFA Statutes, as adopted at the Congress in Mauritius on 31 May
- Regulations Governing the Application of the FIFA Statutes, as
adopted at the Congress in Mauritius on 31 May 2013
- FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players, edition 2012, including the Annexes 1 to 5; Rules for the Status and Transfer of Futsal Players, Annex 6 of the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of
- FIFA Players’ Agents Regulations, edition 2008, including the Annexes 1, 2 and 3; Rules Governing the Procedures of the Players’ Status Committee and the Dispute Resolution Chamber, edition 2012;
- FIFA Disciplinary Code, edition 2011, First Title: Chapter I, Section 1 to 6 and Chapter 11, Section 8;
- Circulars and any annexes as folIows:
- No. 1147: Eligibility to play for representative teams -Articles 15 - 18 of the Regulations Governing the Application of the FIFA Statutes;
- No. 1160: Revised FIFA Players’ Agents Regulations;
- No. 1190: Revised Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players Protection of minors;
- No. 1200: Amendments to the FIFA Statutes and to the Regulations Governing the Application of the Statutes;
- No. 1206: Revised Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players Protection of minors;
- No. 1209: Protection of minors;
- No. 1249: Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players - training compensation and the categorisation of clubs;
- No. 1270: Amendments to the FIFA Disciplinary Code;
- No. 1327: Amended Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players and reviewed Rules Governing the Procedures of the Players’ Status Committee and the Dispute Resolution Chamber;
- No. 1354: Regulations on the Status and Transfer.
- No. 1355: Men’s international match calendar for the September 2014 to July 2018 period.
Furthermore the candidates had to study the national regulations of the association where they were applying for a license.
A study of the domestic labor law, national regulations and FIFA regulations is recommended
Anno January 2014 there were probably over 6000 licensed agents and just as many agents active. For some it is a full time job for others a maybe profitable hobby. Club officials like sports directors, coaches and scouts receive every dozens if not hundreds of emails offering the ‘next big thing’ in football.
An average players professional career spans probably 10 -12 years. When we assume that an first roster has 20 - 25 players we now can calculate that every year just 2 players leave to market two be replaced with new players. The youth teams at u19 level also produce a a complete team every year. However there is only place for 2 new players and not a whole team. The youth teams at u19 level also produce a a complete team every year so it is obvious that per average 10 new players fight for one open vacancy. It is quite busy at the gates.
Build your network
Having all the knowledge to do the job properly it is all worthless for an agent unless he has a good network.
Anyone who wants to get in the business can not start soon enough building his network. As described above the demand is smaller that the offer so it is more important to have good contacts with club officials then with players. Access to clubs is crucial.
Do not focus too much on signing players but on building relationships with club.