Former footballer now sports lawyer David Winnie has said that clubs will be the winners if the new FIFA agents regulations remain unchanged.
FIFA announced last week a new ruling which will alter significantly how transfers are conducted behind the scenes.
Agents have made moves to challenge the legislation with Winnie warning that it is the clubs who stand to benefit.
“If the agents regulations don’t go through then it is open season for agent so clubs will have to pay agents this money – and more. If the new regulations are brought in and the European Court of Justice says fine, then the upper hand moves to clubs. They are only liable for paying a certain percentage to agents and agents can’t ask for anything more than that.”
“Worldwide agents will have to fall in line with the new regulations and there will be a massive cap on their fees. Previously, agents could have duel representation – they could act for the club and the player but under the new regulations they won’t be able to do that. If the regulations stay then it is bad news for the agents but good news for clubs in terms of what they have to pay. I am not so sure about the players.”
Agents have been heavily criticised by clubs at times but Winnie has warned they’re an unnecessary evil.
“From a player’s perspective, they are bound to check out the agents that they employ. They have to be licensed by FIFA – it is not a local requirement, like the SFA – agents will be licensed by FIFA. To do that you need to pass quite a stringent exam which is another bug bear. You also have to pay a fee. There is all of that and in addition, the player pays the agent himself from the contract that is negotiated. Previously the agent would get the money from the club.
“Will it help players? Yes and no.
“In terms of the clubs, rightly or wrongly the game needs agents. There are issues around integrity, the money that they receive, we all know that but the game needs them. If these new regulations don’t come in then it is as you were and agents can charge what they want. Last year international transfers, agents took about £630m in fees.”
Agents are set to challenge the new legislation in the European court of Arbitration.
“In a German court in Dortmund, the Professional Football Agents Association were successful in getting an injunction against the new FIFA Agents regulations, basically stopping them from being introduced in Germany in the interim. However, a case that was was brought before the Court of Arbitration in Lausanne came down in favour of FIFA – overwhelmingly. That judgement from CAS states that the new regulations are valid, they are lawful and they should be applied worldwide. So that puts a spanner in the works for football agents and their business.
“There is one last throw of the dice. There is a case sitting before the European Court of Justice and we don’t know when that will come out but of it comes out in favour of the agents then all bets are off. The new regulations that FIFA have brought in will be thrown into the dustbin but the chances of that happening are slim.”