In an earlier piece I had referred to the fulsome regulations that Fifa had introduced governing the actions and responsibilities of clubs and players in respect of players contracts and transfers. In January of this year Fifa also introduced new regulations to govern the activities of agents which have to be implemented by all member associations no later than 31st December 2009 with the key parts effective immediately. These require the issue of licences by local associations and the requirement to pass a multiple choice examination testing knowledge of current football regulations and civil law. Unless already a qualified lawyer or a relative of the player on whose behalf you are acting. They also call for the provision of liability insurance specifically to cover any damages that might be caused by the agent`s activities.
The purpose of these new rules, as given by FIFA themselves, are:
Concept: The ruling on players’ agents implemented in 2000 needed to be adapted to the way football is currently evolving. The new features include licences for players’ agents being renewable as opposed to having lifetime validity, with the aim of making sure that agents are up to date with the rulings that are in force. Disciplinary measures against agents with dishonest intentions have also been significantly strengthened, and players will also have to pay their agents themselves in order to increase the transparency of the various transactions. In concrete terms, agents will receive payment exclusively from the client who engaged them.The example given by FIFA suggests that the agent can be punished for telling his client that he has an offer doubling his salary even though, in the example, it is the player that breaches his contract. So, presumably it is wrong for an agent to inform his client of a better offer while still under contract.
Objective: While FIFA cannot have complete control over agents’ activities, since players can choose close relatives or lawyers as their agents, the governing body needs to be stricter to avoid the rules being flouted and to reinforce agents’ obligations, as was requested by the European Union.
Application: The new ruling was implemented on 1 January 2008.
Example: A player, assisted by his agent, signs a contract with a club offering him an annual salary of one million euros. After two seasons, the agent tells the player that another club is ready to pay him two million. The player breaks his contract to sign for the new club. The original club appeals to the industrial tribunal, which suspends the player for breaking his contract, while the Committee for the Status of Players suspends and punishes the agent.
Along with the 26 page Fifa Regulations with its 40 articles is a Code of Conduct for Agents, paragraph 5 of which states:
The players` agent shall, without fail, respect the rights of his negotiating partners and third parties. In particular, he shall respect the contractual relations of his professional colleagues and shall refrain from any action that could entice clients away from other parties.Couldn`t sharing an ice cream with another clubs representatives be considered such an action?
FIFA seem to be wonderfully productive when it comes to introducing regulations but rather less so when it comes to getting member associations to enforce them. Why go to the bother of writing them up then?
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