Tougher rules for football agents come into force from Monday as part of a Fifa crackdown that will see agents’ fees capped at three per cent of a player’s salary.
Some of the world governing body’s new regulations take effect immediately, such as a mandatory licensing system for all agents, while others, such as the fee cap, will apply from October – and that could spark a stampede to complete deals before it takes effect.
“Given that most agents charge more than three per cent, you could end up with a rather unseemly rush for agents to complete deals before the new regulations are implemented domestically,” said Stephen Taylor Heath, head of sports law at JMW Solicitors.
Fifa approved the rules in December, heralding them as part of “a fairer and more transparent football transfer system”.
It followed years of wrangling with leading agents, who opposed tighter regulation, and there could yet be legal challenges, for instance to the arbitrary $200,000-a-year salary threshold at which point the three per cent cap applies.
“These are obviously laudable objectives but whether the regulations themselves meet those objectives is the issue [agents’ group] the Football Forum may seek to challenge,” added Taylor Heath.
Any legal challenge to the agents’ rules would likely have to take place initially at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
“Assume an agent enters into a contract with a player with a flat commission of five per cent,” said Taylor Heath.
“The agent will not be able to seek to enforce that contract under the Fifa/FA regulations and indeed may be subject to sanction for breach of regulations while a club will be obliged not to deal with that agent.
“Matters would come to a head if that agent were to then seek to enforce their contract and challenge the restrictions of their activity in an English court.”