FIFA's new cap on agent fees WON'T be implemented in England
EXCLUSIVE: FIFA’s new cap on agent fees WON’T be implemented in England after successful legal challenge by representatives in major victory
- New FIFA regulations planned to limit what agents could receive in commission
- The new cap will not be implemented after successful legal action from agents
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English football agents have landed a major victory over FIFA after they joined forces to resist new regulations that would have capped the commission they earn.
Mail Sport understands the alliance – including agents from CAA Base, Stellar and Wasserman – have won their legal challenge against world football’s governing body, on the back of a similar ruling in favour of intermediaries in Germany.
Earlier this year, a Dortmund court ruled that any agency from Germany is not bound to follow FIFA’s new laws on transfer business. FIFA want agents to be licensed, to cap the commission they earn on transfer fees and salaries, prohibit multiple representation and put money into a central banking system through a Paris-based financial clearing house.
And English agents are today celebrating the news that FIFA’s rules will not be implemented in this country, either. Jonathan Barnett, of CAA Stellar, was among those who led the legal challenge.
After the ruling, a statement from The European Football Agents Association said: ‘Today we heard the results of the English football agents case in the FA Rule K arbitration proceedings.
English football agents have landed a major victory over FIFA after they joined forces to resist new regulations that would have capped the commission they earn (above – Gianni Infantino)
Renowned agent Jonathan Barnett was among those who led the successful legal challenge
‘We are happy to hear that the court has sided with the agents and blocked the implementation of the FFAR. As our English friends so aptly put, these regulations were an attempt at using a sledgehammer to crack a nut—far overreaching and overstepping, beyond legitimate cause.
‘With the biggest market now free of the FFAR’s governance, we see that 4 of the Big Five are free from the FIFA-imposed cap, with only Italy’s status to be determined as we await the new set of federation rules.’
They continued: ‘We celebrate with our English friends and are happy to have assisted in this monumental case. We will continue supporting all countries in their fight against the FFAR and for a more fair, transparent, and uniform regulatory system that truly represents agents worldwide.’
At the start of the legal bid, one agent told Mail Sport: ’There was no consultation with us. It is not one size fits all. No thought has been given to the changes, on a practical and financial level. Smaller agencies are not earning as much as you would think, and these caps will have a huge impact.
‘OK, the commission on some of the bigger transfers perhaps needed to be addressed, but to apply the same caps all through the leagues is dangerous. It threatens to put many good agencies who look after younger players and lower-league players out of business.
‘It feels like FIFA have gone for an easy PR victory – to go after agents. That ignores the job we do in looking after players and facilitating transfers. Very few players ever complain about the fees they pay.’
Slides from a presentation by the Association of Football Agents at a meeting in February provided a case study example of a £30m transfer of a player between Tottenham and Manchester United, earning a £5m salary on a five-year contract. They calculated that the new caps would reduce their commission from £2.75m to £1.5m.
FIFA Council’s approved its Football Agent Regulations in Qatar in December, describing them as ‘a landmark step towards the establishment of a fairer and more transparent football transfer system’.
But the European Football Agents Association said: ‘These regulations will have severe consequences for the health of football and the careers of thousands of small and medium-sized agents worldwide. We will do everything we can to protect our profession and block the implementation.
FIFA wanted to limit the amount agents could earn from deals (pictured – Declan Rice after his £105m transfer to Arsenal from West Ham)
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‘We cannot stand idly by as one body seeks to dismantle our entire profession. We have thus initiated legal action, with the intention to ultimately have a European Court block these regulations across the EU.’
Sports lawyer Chris Farnell, of IPS Law, said earlier this year: ‘If you look at the current market prices, this is like an industry bigwig coming into a factory and telling the workers I know you earn £1,000 a week but now it has to be £500. And agents have every right to challenge that as any worker would.
‘There is an arbitration process but, it may be, at this late stage, that going to court is the most effective way to grab FIFA’s attention.
‘Prior to this FIFA said ”we don’t want to regulate”, now they are saying ”we do” but it is to a high level with a banking system and monetary control. That is going against competitive employment laws.’
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