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Working with intermediaries – reform of FIFA’s players’ agents system

1.    Overview

New Regulations on Working with Intermediaries replaced the FIFA Players’ Agents Regulations, following the approval of several necessary amendments to the FIFA Statutes and the Regulations Governing the Application of the FIFA Statutes by the 64th FIFA Congress. The new regulations, introduce a new approach based on the concept of intermediaries, were previously approved by the FIFA Executive Committee at its meeting on 21 March 2014 and came into force on 1 April 2015.

2. The reform process

In 2009, the 59th FIFA Congress decided to embark on an in-depth reform of the existing players’ agents system in order to address several shortfalls that had been identified with the licensing system established by the FIFA Players’ Agents Regulations. These difficulties included:

· Inefficient licensing of players’ agents, resulting in the conclusion of many international transfers without the use of licensed agents

· Even transfers concluded with the use of licensed agents were often intransparent and thereby not verifiable

· Confusion regarding the differences between club representatives and players’ agents and their respective financial obligations

The aim of the review was to propose a new, more transparent system that would be easier to administer and implement, resulting in improved enforcement at national level. The FIFA Committee for Club Football established a sub-committee composed of relevant football community stakeholders to deal with this reform, including member associations, confederations, clubs, FIFPro and professional football leagues. The sub-committee prepared a set of draft regulations based on the concept of intermediaries, as well as Intermediary Declarations, to be signed by any intermediary when intervening in a transaction on behalf of a player or a club. Following the approval of the FIFA Executive Committee in March 2014 and the amendments to the FIFA Statutes at the 64th FIFA Congress in June 2014, it was decided that new Regulations on Working with Intermediaries would come into force on 1 April 2015 replacing the current FIFA Players’ Agent Regulations.

3. The new approach

The new system does not regulate access to the activity but provide a framework for tighter control and supervision of the transactions relating to transfer of football players in order to enhance transparency. The regulatory approach taken to achieve this is the introduction of minimum standards and requirements, as well as a registration system for intermediaries who represent players and/or clubs in concluding employment contracts and transfer agreements. They aim to provide players and/or clubs with the opportunity to choose any party they wish to engage as an intermediary, as long as this party meets specific criteria, fulfils best practice standards and respects certain key principals. This new regulatory approach will supersede the current licensing system on 1 April 2015. Key elements of the new regulations

1. Transparency: full disclosure and publication of the remuneration and payments made to intermediaries as a result of transactions that they are involved in (for international transfers, further details must be inserted into FIFA’s Transfer Matching System)

2. Payment of intermediary fees: identifying which entity (clubs or players) are responsible for paying intermediary fees and what percentage intermediaries are paid

3. Conflicts of interest: proper disclosure if any conflicts of interest by all parties involved

4. Protection of minors: non-payment of commission if the player concerned is a minor

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