‘We’re at half-time’ – Agents & Football, FIFA’s role and responsibilities

International Sports Convention, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, 20th March 2024

Agents and Football-FIFA’s role and responsibilities

Luis Villas-Boas Pires, Head of Agents-FIFA

Agents, Football and the Status Quo

Luis Villas-Boas Pires outlined the work FIFA has been doing to regulate football agents after five main areas of concern were identified. These were: ethical, (abusive and excessive conduct of football agents); speculation (the market is driven by speculation); conflicts of interest (agents representing more than one party in a transfer); protection of players; lack of protection of the agent as a creditor.

From 2011-2023 international transfers generated fees of $5.6 billion for agents.

The major development has been the adoption on 16th Dec 2022 of the FIFA Football Agent Regulations. All agents need a Football Agent Licence, which is obtained by passing an exam.

Villas-Boas Pires stressed that the principles of the regulations are transparency and integrity. He emphasised the need to modernise regulations, to guarantee minimum professional standards to help players, coaches, clubs and associations. An effective dispute resolution system and varying levels of caps on agent commissions are among the measures introduced.

The introduction of the regulations has been met by 15 legal challenges, mostly in Europe, to try and stop the implementation of the regulations. A court in Dortmund ruled against FIFA on some of points, and FIFA decided to suspend worldwide the regulations affected which principally are in the areas of conflict of interest and payments.

FIFA is now awaiting the verdict of the European Court of Justice, before deciding how to move forward. Villas-Boas Pires expects a decision from the ECJ around the end of the year.

Villas-Boas Pires said: ‘We’re at half-time in the game.’