Saturday, 14 October 2017

Football Agents: Important Ingredient for a good transfer window

In professional football, a transfer is the action taken whenever a player under contract moves between clubs. It refers to the transferring of a player's registration from one association football club to another. In general, the players can only be transferred during a transfer window and according to the rules set by a governing body. Usually some sort of compensation is paid for the player's rights, which is known as a transfer fee. When a player moves from one club to another, their old contract is terminated and they negotiate a new one with the club they are moving to. But in the last two years the term Super Agent is being used quite a lot whenever there is any talk about a transfer. So who is a Super Agent? The answer is these are the agents who have a very high profile clientele and play a major part in deciding whether a transfer is going to happen and the money involved in it which is usually a lot. The example of super agents are the two most high proflie agents in the world right now, Jorge Mendes and Mino Raiola who are the agents of the biggest names in football like Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba, Angel Di Maria, James Rodriguez, Falcao and many others.
 
Football agent fees/commission on transfer fees and player salaries will vary from sport to sport, by that I mean whether its American football or football i.e soccer as it is called in some parts of the world. A football agent or intermediary as they are called today as per changes by FIFA in an irrational effort to try and make the process more transparent, will usually be paid by their client; that being either the club that contracted them to act on their behalf in a transfer or the player they represent. The intermediary can only be paid by an agreed lump sum if representing a club, however this can be paid in installments if agreed as such prior to the transfer activity. An intermediary’s payment from a player is also made calculated on the basis of the player’s basic gross income for the entire duration of the contract being signed for the transfer. As a rule the intermediary’s client has to pay him/her but a player can in writing ask their club to make payments to the intermediary on their behalf. Now to answer the actual question, according to FIFA, as a guide an intermediary should be paid 3% of the player’s basic gross income with regards to representing a player, and 3% of the transfer fee in the event of a club. However, as i mentioned, that is just a guide and so agents generally vary this percentage depending on the client or the circumstances. If your client is Cristiano Ronaldo or Manchester United, then you will probably consider even going less than the given 3% if necessary because at the end of the day the 3% or less is probably someone’s yearly salary. On the other hand if you are representing a player with a not so lucrative contract or a player playing in lower leagues, then the intermediary is likely to go for a higher percentage. Generally, most agents/intermediaries in the industry as far as i know will usually keep to a 10% commission when it comes to players however higher percentages when representing clubs. 

Again this is a personal choice and there are instances where Agents/ Intermediaries lose their clients over high percentages. There are also instances where some top agents go over the said 10% because of their ability to get a player into a top club. For instance an agent who wants 10% or less will be able to get you into Burnley or Bournemouth whilst the agent who can get you into Manchester United or Chelsea might want a 20% commission. There are instances where the same intermediary will on agreement represent both the club and the player and get paid by both. A good example is in Paul Pogba’s transfer where his agent was paid about €27 million by Juventus but his client will also be paying him through the duration of the contract. The most widely known role of football agents is when an individual agent or an agency acts on behalf of an individual player in negotiating playing contracts and other commercial contracts for that player. An agent will usually be paid by a percentage of the money that the player earns or by an annual fee. It is a well established principle of the relationship between football agent and the football player which they represent that the agent owes the player a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of that player. An article was designed to prohibited the agents from acting on both sides of a negotiation as it was deemed to be a clear conflict of interest. It states that a player's agent may only represent the interests of one particular party per transaction. In particular a player's agent is forbidden from having a representation contract, a cooperation agreement or shared interests with one of the other parties or with one of the other parties player's agent involved in the player’s transfer or in the completion of the employment contract. A conflict of interest occurs whereby an individual involved in something, in most cases a commercial deal, where they have an interest with both sides. a football agent clearly would be in breach of his fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the player which he is paid to represent if he is also representing the club negotiating with that player. A single agent would be unable to get the best deal for both the player and the club.

Author's Comment: Football’s global popularity knows no bounds and it’s an agent's job to ensure their player has a piece of the pie but first and foremost making sure their players are in the best possible position to perform on match day.

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