What do FIFA registered agents do?
Firstly let me start by stating that FIFA recognises that only 42% of registered agents work full time within the industry. The other 58% have yet or are unable to break in to this industry full time although FIFA qualified and registered to do so.
As of February 2012 FIFA recognised that of the 6’082 (41% based in the big five = 2494) licensed agents only 83 agents or agencies represent half the footballers in the big five (England, Germany, Spain, Italy and France). FIFA also recognises the closed circles in which these agents operate and also recognises that most agents are only there in name and license.
So to put this into perspective, there are fewer agents representing the interests of footballers than there are football clubs and that most agents report to an un-named source. FIFA again recognises that most agents operated within the industry before they were licensed.
Another fact for you is that half of FIFA registered agents represent their clients on behalf of someone else. So the paper trail finishes with the licensed agent and we are none the wiser. The English premier league does release figures that show payments to agents but yet again after these financial transactions, we are none the wiser so an agent can employ a go between. However FIFA estimates that the market for football intermediaries is worth €400 million per year.
Since the implementation of TMS (transfer matching system) we have been able to keep closer tabs on the migratory movements of players from one country to another.
In the first 9 months of 2011 7’854 international transfers took place worth $1.734 Billion, again FIFA recognises that this sum is between clubs and more monies was paid to intermediaries. As stated above the English premier league is the only league in the big five to release figures for agents fees in 2009 = £67 million, 2011 = £72 million, this represents, according to FIFA 3.5% of English footballs monies spent on transfers and wages.
Estimate of football intermediaries’ turnover in UEFA member national associations, per country (season 2010/11, millions €)
To close this market even further FIFA recognises that only 24 agents or agencies represent 25% of all footballers within the big five leagues; please remember there are over 2’400 registered agents living within these nations which have a combined population of approximately 300million people.
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So the next step for the interested football fan is to find out who these 24 agencies are and to hazard a guess as to who is behind them. I think Ann had a stab at this recently, And only through my own wondering am I becoming a bit clearer as to the road she was on, However many queries still remain.
The main topic for me was the amount of agents responsible for Arsenal players, so through researching this it led me on to other top flight teams and the findings were, that the bigger the club, the less reliant they were on the 24 agents. It seems through status they can obtain the services of said player regardless of the agent. However the further down the clubs list you go, you will find a concentration of talent belonging to (if you will) the 24.
Below is how FIFA classifies football clubs within the big five.
The main agencies I’m aware of are as follows.
- Gestifute, mondial,
- Sports entertainment group,
- Key sports management,
- Groupe usm,
- Stellar football Ltd,
- Firsteleven Ism,
- Sports Total,
- SEM group Plc.
- Kick and run management,
- Bahia internacional,
- World in motion,
- Wasserman Media Group.
The above list is a work in progress and I would appreciate any help. Remember this is regarding the big five leagues in Europe; South America is another example of agents or agencies monopolising this industry.
Fifa has a list of top agencies. Personally I wouldn’t trust this list as Gestifute represents Ronaldo, Mourinho, Falcao, Thiago Silva, Nani and Pepe with combined transfer fees around the 250/300million mark and these are just a handful of their clients.
So basically behind football and other sporting industries we have agencies that are driven by profit generation. How to stop this I do not know but the questions we should be asking are:
- How much influence do these agencies have over some football clubs?
- If a manager is signed to an agency how many footballers from that agency has he signed?
- Can an agency ruin a football club?
- Can an agency purchase shares in a club then place a manager and its players there?
- How long do we have to wait to find out an agent or agency actually owns a football club?
The questions are endless as we have no or very little regulation and that allows for assumption.
There are a fair amount of clubs out there with a high dependency on these few agents/agencies Bastia and Athletic Bilbao to name just two.
For the moment it seems that top level clubs are not influenced by these agencies but with their successes at retaining the best players they can and do cause a lot of concern for top level clubs.
So back to the title of this piece, what do FIFA registered agents do?
They actually offer the following services, contract negotiations, marketing and endorsement deals, legal counselling and dispute resolution.
However most of us think they do the paper work for those we cannot see.
Written by Adam Brogden.
Resource CIES football observatory.
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