A recent article by Joel Leigh and Jamie Rhodes explored whether findings by Edge Hill University would assist football agents in being recognised as part of the "footballing family". However, evolving hostilities would suggest that football agents are for now and at best, a distant cousin (twice removed).
Battle lines are being drawn as a consequence of the recent announcement by FIFA to introduce a cap on the commission that can be earned by football agents. Unsurprisingly, the Association of Football Agents (AFA) are set to fight these measures tooth and nail, describing the issue as "its greatest challenge yet".
At the end of September, FIFA's Football Stakeholders Committee approved a series of measures with the aim of protecting the integrity of the football transfer system. Included was a cap on agent remuneration in relation to football transfers, which took the form of a two-pronged attack:
1. The establishment of a cap on agents’ commissions, specifically:
- 10% of the transfer fee for agents of releasing clubs;
- 3% of the player’s remuneration for player agents; and
- 3% of the player’s remuneration for agents of engaging clubs.
2. The limitation of multiple representation to avoid conflicts of interest.
In a foreseeable response, the AFA has declared it's unswerving opposition to any such measures, claiming that any cap would be "anti-competitive and unlawful". In addition, the AFA feel aggrieved as a result of FIFA's alleged failure to consult over the reforms. In a statement to members, the AFA has stated that they are hoping to send to FIFA a draft letter before action shortly.
It remains to be seen how FIFA will react, but it is highly unlikely that the issue of football agent remuneration will fall away. The AFA could well see increased alignment from a wider pool of of European and global agents in support of this looming legal battle. This is definitely a story to keep an eye on!
If this article has been of interest, my colleague Alex Wood has already analysed the positives and negatives of a remuneration cap on football agents here.