The whole messy drama regarding Wayne Rooney’s contract has thankfully been settled – until some other big name footballer, driven by his agent, takes on his club again. For it’s not a case of it being a mere possibility, it’s a cast iron certainty that the whole drama will eventually be played out again. Player agents have often been described as being a curse on the game and it’s about to get a whole lot worse with FIFA looking certain to scrap all regulations governing agents activities as from May 2011.
Sir Alex Ferguson was one of many managers who made his feelings clear when he admitted this week that “When your top players come towards the end of their contracts you have to do something to get them a new one. They are all the same, you have to deal with agents which is difficult. The players are no problem, it`s just some agents are difficult
So rather than introduce tighter regulations, FIFA recently released a statement declaring that “A possible new approach could be to regulate the conduct of clubs and players, and extend the scope of the regulations to include all kinds of intermediaries. In other words, the regulations would stop attempting to regulate access to the activity and instead control the activity itself.
This would mean that players and clubs could choose any parties as intermediaries, be they legal entities, lawyers, relatives or spouses but would have to meet certain criteria and respect certain principles. This approach would also result in the annulment of the current licensing system.”
Agents are currently required to apply for a licence from a national association, pass a written test set by that association and carry professional liability insurance. However, with Fifa concerned about the viability of the current system, a working group has been in operation for the past year and will present its recommendations in full by the end of 2010. Any changes to the Players’ Agents Regulations would be likely to come into effect from May 2011.
A statement issued by world players’ union FIFPro which represents 50,000 professional players worldwide said “FIFPro has an extremely critical opinion about the practice of players’ agents in general. A number of those agents seems to place their own interests above those of the players they represent. An unnecessarily large amount of money disappears from professional football through agents.”
Accusations of corruption within the game have been rife for many years, once again highlighted by this weeks events surrounding large amounts of money changing hands with FIFA officials in return for obtaining a world cup bid vote. There’s a huge stench of corruption in a various number of activities within the game and rather than attempting to clear it up, the authorities appear hell bent on entrenching it.
Should player agents remain regulated by being licensed?