FIFA has introduced Football Agents exam. A brief overview of the new Football Agent Regulations.
On 3 January 2023, FIFA published the new Football Agent Regulations (FFAR) on its official website. According to the Regulations, the provisions from Art. 1 to Art. 10 and from Art. 22 to Art. 27, which are related to the procedure for obtaining a licence, came into force on 9 January 2023. The remaining provisions, other than those mentioned, take effect from 1 October 2023.
Therefore, the obligation for clients to use only the services of licensed Football Agents in connection with a transaction shall apply from 1 October 2023.
The national federations have to adopt Football Agents regulations which shall be in line with the FFAR. The regulations thus drawn up by each national federation shall enter into force on 30 September 2023.
What will happen to the existing representation agreements?
A representation agreement that is in place at the time of approval of the FFAR will remain in place until the expiry of the term provided for therein and cannot be extended.
The new representation agreements or renewals of entered into force after the approval of the Agents Regulations must be in accordance with the FFAR from 1 October 2023.
In the event that the Agent’s service fee established in the representation agreement exceeds the maximum amount set by FIFA (see the table below) and a claim for commission is lodged by the Agent after 1 October 2023, even if the same claim is pursuant to a representation agreement signed in the period between the approval of the FFAR and 30 September 2023 inclusively, FIFA will not enforce any commission claim in excess of the applicable service fee cap.
In any event, any person who has entered into such a representation agreement must obtain a licence under the FFAR in order to continue to provide services as a Football Agent with effect from 1 October 2023 (see Art. 22 par. 3 of the FFAR). Otherwise, they will not be entitled to provide services as Football Agent (within the meaning of the FFAR) after that date.
Who can become a licensed Football Agent?
Any natural person who meets the FIFA requirements and passes an exam that will test their knowledge of the FFAR, FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (RSTP), FIFA Statutes, FIFA Code of Ethics, FIFA Disciplinary Code, FIFA Guardians: Child Safeguarding Toolkit and etc.
Upon successful completion of the exam, the Football Agent is liable to pay FIFA a fee of USD 600 once a year, which includes access to the Agent Platform, FIFA’s continuing professional development (CPD) programme and the relevant dispute resolution procedures within the Agents Chamber of the Football Tribunal.
However, FIFA does not stop there with its requirements. In order to retain your Football Agent licence each year, between 1 October and 30 September, you must have accumulated a minimum of 20 credits under the continuing professional development (CPD) programme established by FIFA. This means that you must not only attend the courses organised by FIFA under the aforementioned programme, but you must also pass an assessment at the end of each course. Otherwise, you will not have collected a sufficient minimum number of credits and in result the licence will automatically be provisionally suspended. If the Agent fails to meet the FIFA’s continuing professional development (CPD) programme requirements within 60 days of license suspension, the license will be automatically withdrawn.
The requirements to represent a minor?
In order for a football Agent to represent a minor in relation to any football Agent services will only be allowed six months before the minor reaches the age at which they may sign their first professional contract in accordance with the law applicable in the country or territory of the member association where the minor will be employed.
In addition, not every licensed Agent may represent a minor. For this purpose, the Agent must successfully complete a course (as evidenced by Article 13 (2) of the Agents Regulations) that grants him the necessary accreditation, which is for a period of three years.
In case you have been registered as a football Agent under the FIFA Agent Regulations (ed. 1991, 1995 , 2001 and 2008) and prove that you have been registered as an Agent during the period from 2015 until the new regulations are issued in 2022, in which case you may not sit the examination but you must comply with the continuing professional development (CPD) programme.
The Football Agent’s service fee
The Football Agent’s service fee should be paid by the client that receives the service. The exception to this rule is where the Agent represents an individual with annual earnings of less than (or equal to) USD 200 000. In such a case, the Agent’s commission may be paid by the company engaging that individual.
A Football Agent is entitled to receive service fee only if the fee is consistent with the services predetermined in a representation agreement in effect at the time the relevant service is performed by the Football Agent.
Where the employment contract is of a longer duration than the representation agreement, the Football Agent may receive service fee after the expiry of the representation agreement as long as the individual’s agreed employment contract is still in force and provided that this is expressly agreed with the client in the representation agreement.
Payment of any service fee to the Agent shall be made after the end of the relevant transfer period and in quarterly instalments for the duration of the agreed contract of employment.
Where the employment contract is for a period of less than six months, payment to the Agent should be made in one instalment at the end of the term of the employment contract.
If the duration of the employment contract is longer than the related representation agreement, the football Agent may receive remuneration for services rendered after the expiry of the representation agreement as long as the individual’s negotiated employment contract is still in force and provided that this is expressly agreed with the client in the representation agreement.
Furthermore, in case that the negotiated individual’s employment contract is prematurely terminated by the individual without just cause or the individual is transferred to another club before the negotiated employment contract expires, the football Agent shall not be entitled to receive any further service fee. In such situation, the Agent may receive only the service fee that become due prior to one of the above-mentioned circumstances.
Term of the representation agreement
The representation agreement between an Agent and a player/coach must not exceed a period of two years. This period can only be extended by signing a new representation agreement.
The Agent must also:
i. advise the player or coach in writing that they should consider obtaining independent legal advice in relation to the representation agreement; and
ii. obtain written confirmation from the player or coach that they have obtained or decided not to take such legal advice.
A representation agreement entered into with a club or national federation, as client, has no time limit.
Amount of the service fee
The Agent’s remuneration shall be calculated as follows:
a) When representing an individual or the engaging club: based on the individual’s remuneration.
b) When representing a transferring club: based on the transfer compensation for the relevant transaction.
The maximum amount of the Agent’s service fee for a transaction, regardless of the number of Football Agents providing services to a particular client, is set out in the table below:
FIFA Clearing House
All payments to football Agents shall be made through the FIFA Clearing House once this is established in its regulations. At the moment FIFA Clearing House Regulations do not regulate service fee payments to football agents, thus the payment shall be made directly to the Football Agent until such time that the FIFA Clearing House Regulations regulate service fee payments.
Radostin Vassilev-Law Firm, as one of the few law firms in Bulgaria specializing in sports law and proven over the years as an experienced and reliable partner for clubs, players, coaches and Agents, will have its candidate for licensed FIFA Agent, Iva Nikolova, the Head of Department Sports Law & Sports Management at Radostin Vasilev – Law Firm, with large experience in the field of football law and sports management will sit the first session of the Football Agent exam which will take place in April this year.
In this way we would like to give an even greater guarantee to our clients and partners of our professionalism and desire to contribute to the development of football in Bulgaria in a better, more professional and transparent direction.
Тeam of Radostin Vassilev – Law Firm