Asser International Sports Law Blog

Our International Sports Law Diary
The Asser International Sports Law Centre is part of the T.M.C. Asser Instituut

Human Rights as Selection Criteria in Bidding Regulations for Mega-Sporting Events – Part II: FIFA and Comparative Overview – By Tomáš Grell

The first part of this two-part blog examined the new bidding regulations adopted by the IOC and UEFA, and concluded that it is the latter who gives more weight to human rights in its host selection process. This second part completes the picture by looking at FIFA's bidding regulations for the 2026 World Cup. It goes on to discuss whether human rights now constitute a material factor in evaluating bids to host the mega-sporting events organised by these three sports governing bodies. More...

Human Rights as Selection Criteria in Bidding Regulations for Mega-Sporting Events – Part I: IOC and UEFA – By Tomáš Grell

Editor’s note: Tomáš Grell holds an LL.M. in Public International Law from Leiden University. He contributes to the work of the ASSER International Sports Law Centre as a research intern.


It has been more than seven years since the FIFA Executive Committee awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. And yet only in November 2017 did the Qatari government finally agree to dismantle the controversial kafala system, described by many as modern-day slavery. Meanwhile, hundreds of World Cup-related migrant workers have reportedly been exposed to a wide range of abusive practices such as false promises about the pay, passport confiscation, or appalling working and living conditions.[1] On top of that, some workers have paid the highest price – their life. To a certain extent, all this could have been avoided if human rights had been taken into account when evaluating the Qatari bid to host the tournament. In such a case, Qatar would not have won the bidding contest without providing a convincing explanation of how it intends to ensure that the country's poor human rights record will not affect individuals, including migrant workers, contributing to the delivery of the World Cup. An explicit commitment to abolish the kafala system could have formed an integral part of the bid.

Urged by Professor John Ruggie and his authoritative recommendations,[2] in October 2017 FIFA decided to include human rights within the criteria for evaluating bids to host the 2026 World Cup, following similar steps taken earlier this year by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and UEFA in the context of the Olympic Winter Games 2026 and the Euro 2024 respectively. This two-part blog critically examines the role human rights play in the new bidding regulations adopted by the IOC, UEFA, and FIFA. The first part sheds light on the IOC and UEFA. The second part then takes a closer look at FIFA and aims to use a comparative analysis to determine whether the new bidding regulations are robust enough to ensure that selected candidates abide by international human rights standards.More...


International and European Sports Law – Monthly Report – November 2017. By Tomáš Grell

Editor's note: This report compiles all relevant news, events and materials on International and European Sports Law based on the daily coverage provided on our twitter feed @Sportslaw_asser. You are invited to complete this survey via the comments section below, feel free to add links to important cases, documents and articles we might have overlooked.

 

The Headlines

FIFA and FIFPro sign landmark agreement

A six-year cooperation agreement concluded between FIFA and FIFPro on 6 November 2017 puts an end to protracted negotiations which began after the latter had filed in September 2015 a complaint with the European Commission, challenging the validity of the FIFA transfer system under EU competition law. This agreement, together with an accord reached between FIFA, FIFPro, the European Club Association, and the World Leagues Forum under the umbrella of the FIFA Football Stakeholders Committee, should help streamline dispute resolution between players and clubs, avoid abusive practices in the world of football, or contribute to the growth of professional women's football. In addition, the FIFA Football Stakeholders Committee is now expected to establish a task force to study and conduct a broader review of the transfer system. As part of the deal, FIFPro agreed to withdraw its EU competition law complaint.

FIFA strengthens its human rights commitment amid reports of journalists getting arrested in Russia

It is fair to say that human rights have been at the forefront of FIFA's agenda in 2017. Following the establishment of the Human Rights Advisory Board in March and the adoption of the Human Rights Policy in June this year, in November FIFA published the bidding regulations for the 2026 World Cup. Under these new regulations, member associations bidding to host the final tournament shall, inter alia, commit themselves to respecting all internationally recognised human rights in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights or present a human rights strategy on how they intend to honour this commitment. Importantly, the human rights strategy must include a comprehensive report that is to be complemented and informed by a study elaborated by an independent expert organisation. Moreover, on 9 November 2017, the Human Rights Advisory Board published its first report in which it outlined several recommendations for FIFA on how to further strengthen its efforts to ensure respect for human rights.

While all these attempts to enhance human rights protection are no doubt praiseworthy, they have not yet produced the desired effect as reports of gross human rights abuses linked to FIFA's activities continue to emerge. Most recently, Human Rights Watch documented how Russian police arrested a newspaper editor and a human rights defender whose work focused on exposing World Cup-related corruption and exploitation of migrant construction workers. On a more positive note, a bit of hope comes with the announcement by a diverse coalition, including FIFA, UEFA, and the International Olympic Committee, of its intention to launch a new independent Centre for Sport and Human Rights in 2018.

More than 20 Russian athletes sanctioned by the Oswald Commission for anti-doping rule violations at the Sochi Games   

November has been a busy month for the International Olympic Committee, especially for its Oswald Commission. Established in July 2016 after the first part of the McLaren Independent Investigation Report had been published, the Oswald Commission is tasked with investigating the alleged doping violations by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. Its first sanctions were handed down last month. As of 30 November 2017, the Commission chaired by the IOC Member Denis Oswald sanctioned 22 athletes (see here, here, here, here, here, and here) who competed at the Sochi Olympics in the following sports: biathlon, bobsleigh, cross country skiing, skeleton, and speed skating. The Commission published its first full decision on 27 November 2017 in the case against the cross country skier Alexander Legkov, a gold and silver medallist from the Sochi Olympics, who was ultimately banned for life from attending another Olympics.More...

Statement on the European Commission's ISU Decision by Ben Van Rompuy and Antoine Duval

Editor's note: We (Ben Van Rompuy and Antoine Duval) are at the origin of today's decision by the European Commission finding that the International Skating Union's eligibility rules are contrary to EU competition law. In 2014, we were both struck by the news that ISU threatened lifetime ban against speed skaters wishing to participate in the then projected Icederby competitions and convinced that it was running against the most fundamental principles of EU competition law. We got in touch with Mark and Niels and lodged on their behalf a complaint with the European Commission. Three years after we are pleased to see that the European Commission, and Commissioner Vestager in particular, fully embraced our arguments and we believe this decision will shift the tectonic structure of sports governance in favour of athletes for years to come.


Here is our official statement:

Today is a great day for Mark Tuitert and Niels Kerstholt, but more importantly for all European athletes. The European Commission did not only consider the International Skating Union's eligibility rules contrary to European law, it sent out a strong message to all international sports federations that the interests of those who are at the centre of sports, the athletes, should not be disregarded. This case was always about giving those that dedicate their lives to excelling in a sport a chance to compete and to earn a decent living. The majority of athletes are no superstars and struggle to make ends meet and it is for them that this decision can be a game-changer.

However, we want to stress that this case was never about threatening the International Skating Union’s role in regulating its sport. And we very much welcome the exceptional decision taken by the European Commission to refrain from imposing a fine which could have threatened the financial stability of the International Skating Union. The International Skating Union, and other sports federations, are reminded however that they cannot abuse their legitimate regulatory power to protect their economic interests to the detriment of the athletes.

We urge the International Skating Union to enter into negotiations with representatives of the skaters to devise eligibility rules which are respectful of the interests of both the athletes and their sport.

Since the summer of 2014, it has been our honour to stand alongside Mark and Niels in a 'David versus Goliath' like challenge to what we always perceived as an extreme injustice. In this fight, we were also decisively supported by the team of EU Athletes and its Chance to Compete campaign.

Finally, we wish to extend a special thank you to Commissioner Vestager. This case is a small one for the European Commission, but Commissioner Vestager understood from the beginning that small cases do matter to European citizens and that European competition law is there to provide a level playing for all, and we are extremely grateful for her vision.


Dr. Ben Van Rompuy (Leiden University) and Dr. Antoine Duval (T.M.C. Asser Instituut)

A Good Governance Approach to Stadium Subsidies in North America - By Ryan Gauthier

Editor's Note: Ryan Gauthier is Assistant Professor at Thompson Rivers University in Canada. Ryan’s research addresses the governance of sports organisations, with a particular focus on international sports organisations. His PhD research examined the accountability of the International Olympic Committee for human rights violations caused by the organisation of the Olympic Games.


Publicly Financing a Stadium – Back in the Saddle(dome)

Calgary, Canada, held their municipal elections on October 16, 2017, re-electing Naheed Nenshi for a third term as mayor. What makes this local election an interesting issue for sports, and sports law, is the domination of the early days of the campaign by one issue – public funding for a new arena for the Calgary Flames. The Flames are Calgary’s National Hockey League (NHL) team, and they play in the Scotiabank Saddledome. More...




Illegally obtained evidence in match-fixing cases: The Turkish perspective - By Oytun Azkanar

Editor’s Note: Oytun Azkanar holds an LLB degree from Anadolu University in Turkey and an LLM degree from the University of Melbourne. He is currently studying Sports Management at the Anadolu University.

 

Introduction

On 19 October 2017, the Turkish Professional Football Disciplinary Committee (Disciplinary Committee) rendered an extraordinary decision regarding the fixing of the game between Manisaspor and Şanlıurfaspor played on 14 May 2017. The case concerned an alleged match-fixing agreement between Elyasa Süme (former Gaziantepspor player), İsmail Haktan Odabaşı and Gökhan Sazdağı (Manisaspor players). The Disciplinary Committee acknowledged that the evidence relevant for proving the match-fixing allegations was obtained illegally and therefore inadmissible, and the remaining evidence was not sufficient to establish that the game was fixed. Before discussing the allegations, it is important to note that the decision is not only significant for Turkish football but is also crucial to the distinction between disciplinary and criminal proceedings in sports. More...

Report from the first ISLJ Annual International Sports Law Conference - 26-27 October at the T.M.C. Asser Instituut

Close to 100 participants from 37 different countries attended the first ISLJ Annual International Sports Law Conference that took place on 26-27 October 2017 in The Hague. The two-day programme featured panels on the FIFA transfer system, the labour rights and relations in sport, the protection of human rights in sport, EU law and sport, the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and the world anti-doping system. On top of that, a number of keynote speakers presented their views on contemporary topics and challenges in international sports law. This report provides a brief summary of the conference for both those who could not come and those who participated and would like to relive their time spent at the T.M.C. Asser Institute.More...

International and European Sports Law – Monthly Report – October 2017. By Tomáš Grell

Editor's note: This report compiles all relevant news, events and materials on International and European Sports Law based on the daily coverage provided on our twitter feed @Sportslaw_asser. You are invited to complete this survey via the comments section below, feel free to add links to important cases, documents and articles we might have overlooked. More...

Multi-Club Ownership in European Football – Part II: The Concept of Decisive Influence in the Red Bull Case – By Tomáš Grell

 

Introduction 

The first part of this two-part blog on multi-club ownership in European football outlined the circumstances leading to the adoption of the initial rule(s) aimed at ensuring the integrity of the UEFA club competitions (Original Rule) and retraced the early existence of such rule(s), focusing primarily on the complaints brought before the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the European Commission by the English company ENIC plc. This second part will, in turn, introduce the relevant rule as it is currently enshrined in Article 5 of the UCL Regulations 2015-18 Cycle, 2017/18 Season (Current Rule). It will then explore how the UEFA Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) interpreted and applied the Current Rule in the Red Bull case, before drawing some concluding remarks.  More...

Multi-Club Ownership in European Football – Part I: General Introduction and the ENIC Saga – By Tomáš Grell

Editor’s note: Tomáš Grell holds an LL.M. in Public International Law from Leiden University. He contributes to the work of the ASSER International Sports Law Centre as a research intern.

 

Introduction

On 13 September 2017, more than 40,000 people witnessed the successful debut of the football club RasenBallsport Leipzig (RB Leipzig) in the UEFA Champions League (UCL) against AS Monaco. In the eyes of many supporters of the German club, the mere fact of being able to participate in the UEFA's flagship club competition was probably more important than the result of the game itself. This is because, on the pitch, RB Leipzig secured their place in the 2017/18 UCL group stage already on 6 May 2017 after an away win against Hertha Berlin. However, it was not until 16 June 2017 that the UEFA Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) officially allowed RB Leipzig to participate in the 2017/18 UCL alongside its sister club, Austrian giants FC Red Bull Salzburg (RB Salzburg).[1] As is well known, both clubs have (had) ownership links to the beverage company Red Bull GmbH (Red Bull), and therefore it came as no surprise that the idea of two commonly owned clubs participating in the same UCL season raised concerns with respect to the competition's integrity. More...


Asser International Sports Law Blog | The Impact of the new FIFA Regulations for Intermediaries: A comparative analysis of Brazil, Spain and England. By Luis Torres

Asser International Sports Law Blog

Our International Sports Law Diary
The Asser International Sports Law Centre is part of the T.M.C. Asser Instituut

The Impact of the new FIFA Regulations for Intermediaries: A comparative analysis of Brazil, Spain and England. By Luis Torres

INTRODUCTION

Almost a year after their announcement, the new FIFA Regulations on working with Intermediaries (“FIFA Regulations”) came into force on 1 April 2015. Their purpose is to create a more simple and transparent system of regulation of football agents. It should be noted, however, that the new FIFA rules enable every national football association to regulate their own system on players’ intermediaries, provided they respect the compulsory minimum requirements adopted. In an industry that is already cutthroat, it thus remains to be seen whether FIFA’s “deregulation” indeed creates transparency, or whether it is a Pandora’s Box to future regulatory confusion.

This blog post will provide an overview of the new FIFA Regulations on working with intermediaries and especially its minimum requirements. Provided that national associations are encouraged to “draw up regulations that shall incorporate the principles established in these provisions”[1], three different national regulations have been taken as case-studies: the English FA Regulations, the Spanish RFEF Regulations and the Brazilian CBF Regulations. After mapping their main points of convergence and principal differences, the issues that could arise from these regulatory differences shall be analyzed.  


FIFA REGULATIONS ON WORKING WITH INTERMEDIARIES

The objective of the new Regulations, as explained in a blog dated from 3 July 2014, is no longer to regulate access to the activity of players’ agents (now ‘intermediaries’), but to provide a framework for a better control of the activity itself by establishing minimum standards and requirements and by installing a transparent registration system.[2]

The most significant change is that FIFA introduced a provision recommending to cap the maximum remuneration an intermediaries should derive from an individual transfer. Article 7(3) holds that the maximum commission payable to an intermediary should be 3% of the player’s basic gross income (regarding an employment contract) or 3% of an eventual transfer fee (transfer agreement). Additionally, FIFA prohibits any payment when the player concerned is a minor. These two restrictions have triggered a complaint of the AFA (UK Association of Football Agents) before the European Commission. Moreover, in Germany, the company Rogon Sport Management challenged the new DFB regulations for intermediaries and won a partial victory in a preliminary ruling of the Regional Court of Frankfurt.[3] They argue that these regulations could lead to an infringement of the competition law. This issue will be developed in a different blog post later this week.

Another minimum requirement set by FIFA is the obligation for all intermediaries to submit an Intermediary Declaration (Annex 1 and 2 FIFA Regulations) to the relevant association. This is due each time an individual or a company wishes to be registered as an intermediary with a national association, and also in order to register a transaction in which he acts on behalf of a player or a club. By signing the Declaration, the intermediary is supposed to be bound to the FIFA Regulations, in addition to the regulations of every confederation and association to which he is contractually related.

Furthermore it is stipulated that legal persons can also be considered ‘intermediaries’ under the new Regulations.[4] However, they do not provide any criteria defining how the national associations are required to register the legal persons acting as intermediaries.

The FIFA Regulations prohibit any payment to the intermediary in connection with a transfer compensation (other than the commission established in the Article 7(3)), training compensation and solidarity contributions. Moreover, in accordance with provision 7(4) of the FIFA Regulations, no compensation can be based on the future transfer value of a player.

Another compulsory prerequisite at stake is that the intermediary ought to be registered with the association where he desires to provide his services prior to initiate any activity (Article 3(1) FIFA Regulations). As will be highlighted below, this provision has important practical consequences. Finally, FIFA no longer claims jurisdiction over disputes that could arise between intermediaries and their clients or other intermediaries. It entrusted the national associations to deal with these kind of disputes. The national associations shall establish proper dispute resolution mechanisms to hear these disputes.   


NATIONAL REGULATIONS ON WORKING WITH INTERMEDIARIES

With the objective of analysing how the different associations have implemented the new intermediaries’ system, three different national regulations will be compared: The FA Regulations on Working with Intermediaries, the RFEF (Spain) Regulations and the CBF (Brazil) Regulations. 


1. The FA (England)

The FA was the first association to publish new provisions regulating intermediaries (”FA Regulations”). It should be pointed out that the new FA Regulations are to a large extent similar to the former FA Agents Regulations. For example, the assignment or subcontracting services or duties, the definition of interest, the dual representation standards and the payment to the intermediary by the club on the player’s behalf as a taxable benefit were already included in the former FA Agents Regulations. 

Nevertheless, it is surprising that the FA Regulations do not require the intermediary to submit an Intermediary Declaration, even though it is a mandatory requirement imposed by the FIFA regulations. As stated above, national associations, such as the FA, are required to implement and enforce these minimum standards/requirements. It is not excluded that FIFA, based on Article 10 FIFA Regulations, will “take appropriate measures if the relevant principles are not complied with”.

The FA prescribes that all intermediaries are to undertake the so-called ‘Test of Good Character and Reputation for Intermediaries’. By undertaking this ‘Test’, the intermediary is asked to demonstrate his impeccable reputation and declares that he has not been convicted for any offence related to his services as an intermediary.

The individual who wishes to register himself as intermediary with the FA will have to pay a registration fee of £500 (around 690 €) for the first registration. However, this fee is waived to those who were already ‘FA Registered Agents’ on 31 March 2015. Instead, in order to remain registered as an intermediary, an annual renewal fee of £250 (around 345 €) will de be due.

Additionally, if the intermediary wishes to act on behalf of minors, he must obtain a specific authorisation from the FA. He will need to provide the FA with the ‘Disclosure and Barring Service check’ (CRB check), which enables in the UK to make better informed recruitment decisions by identifying candidates who may be unsuitable for certain work, especially involving children, or an equivalent for non-English intermediaries. Moreover, regulation B8 FA Regulations prohibits any approach to, or enter into an agreement with, a player before the start of the calendar year in which he turns 16.

Out of the three national associations analysed, the FA is the only association that has provisions regarding the existing representation contracts lodged with the FA before 1 April 2015. These contracts have to be resubmitted to the FA within 10 days of the intermediary registering with the FA.

For the purpose of the representation contracts between a player and an intermediary the maximum length will be two years (regulation B10).

With respect to legal persons, the FA Regulations impose the obligation to register the company/partnership by an individual already registered as an intermediary. Moreover, any individual carrying out intermediary activities on behalf of a legal person must be registered as well.[5]  

Lastly, the FA adopted the same wording as FIFA in relation to the 3% recommendation (C11 FA Regulations). However, the English football association also published a statement (‘Intermediaries Guidance Notes’) indicating that this ‘recommendation’ is non-binding and that clubs and players are free to remunerate intermediaries as they wish. It is clear that this provision could generate doubts regarding the amount of the compensation that the intermediary is entitled to. In fact, the 3% recommendation is significantly lower than the 5-10% commission rates that licensed agents tended to receive[6]. However, with this statement, the FA is not precluding an intermediary and his client to agree on a percentage higher than 3%.

2. RFEF (Spain)

As far as the RFEF (Spanish association) Regulations on working with Intermediaries (“RFEF Regulations”) are concerned, they are the most in line with the FIFA Regulations as compared to the FA and CBF Regulations. The Intermediary Declarations are attached as Annex 1 and 2 at the end of the Regulations.  The registration fee for the first registration as an intermediary in Spain is 861 €. Registration has to be renewed on a yearly basis. However, it is yet unknown what the exact costs will be for renewing the registration. Similar to the FA’s ‘Test of Good Character and Reputation’, the RFEF provides a ‘Code of Ethics’ (Annex 3), which has to be signed by the applicant. Furthermore, the maximum length of a representation contract between a player or a club and an intermediary is two years.[7] Although the maximum length of contracts in England is also two years, it should be kept in mind that the FA Regulations only refer to contracts between intermediaries and players, not between intermediaries and clubs.

The most controversial aspect of the Spanish Regulations is the way that the Registration Procedure (Article 4) is designed. The steps for becoming a RFEF Intermediary are summarized as follows:

  1. The potential intermediary has to provide a written request addressed to the RFEF General Secretariat (“Secretaría General”).

  2. After the application is declared admissible, the RFEF will grant the individual the status of “Applicant”. Subsequently, the RFEF will convoke the applicant for an interview and decides whether the Applicant is ‘suitable to advice’ clients on the football market.   

  3. If the outcome of the interview is positive, the Applicant must provide the following documents: ID, VAT number (for legal persons), two pictures, CV, Intermediary Declaration, the payment of the Registration Fee, return the former agent license (if any) and the Code of Ethics. 

Another interesting point is that the Spanish Regulations do not provide any information on the intermediary’s remuneration. Bearing in mind that FIFA recommends the remuneration to be 3%, it will be interesting to see the consequences of the RFEF’s decision to disregard this recommendation.

This could be understood as an implicit challenge to the ‘3% recommendation’. In practice, this omission has similar consequences than the solution adopted by the English FA. In short, FIFA’s recommendation is treated as a soft advise rather than a binding legal standard.


3. CBF (Brazil)

The CBF (Brazilian association) Regulations on Working with Intermediaries (“CBF Regulations”), were approved on 24 April 2015. In order to be registered as an intermediary, the individual must provide the Intermediary Declaration attached in Annexes 1 and 2 to the Regulations. The registration fee has not been published yet. The applicant should also deliver a declaration stating that he has neither conflicts of interest nor a criminal record. Moreover, the potential CBF intermediary is required to take out a professional liability insurance for the amount of 200,000 ‘reais’ (around 60,000 €). Thus, the CBF, taking advantage of its right to ‘go beyond’ the minimum requirements imposed by FIFA, has introduced a feature of the former Agents Regulations that the new FIFA Regulations had abandoned, i.e. the professional liability insurance.[8]

Following the line of the FA and the RFEF, the Representation Contract shall not last more than “24 months” (Article 11(3)). Given that the Regulations do not state whether it refers to contracts with players or clubs, it can be inferred that all parties are subject to this restriction. On the other hand, the CBF prohibits in article 11(2) to extend the Representation Contract tacitly, a renewal in writing is necessary.

The remuneration of the intermediary is regulated in the same way as in the FIFA Regulations, except for one detail concerning the transfer fee: in Brazil, the remuneration, which should not exceed 3%, amount must be calculated on the basis of the “possible basic gross income for the entire duration of the relevant employment contract” (article 19.III), instead of a share of the transfer fee as envisaged by the FIFA, RFEF or FA Regulations.

Finally, Article 4 expands the scope of application of these regulations to ‘international activities’, specifically “operations regarding the negotiation of an employment contract or players’ transfer which have effect in a different national association”. By means of this Article, an operation which takes place out of the CBF jurisdiction has to be registered by the ‘CBF Intermediary’ with the CBF. As a consequence, the CBF Intermediary must register the operation with two federations: first, the national association where the operation takes place, and second, the CBF, where the only connection is the intermediary. 


Table providing an overview of the main requirements stipulated by the FIFA, FA, RFEF and CBF Regulations

 

FIFA

FA

RFEF

CBF

Intermediary Declaration

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

 

Test of Good Character (or similar)

No

Yes

Test of Good Character and Reputation for Intermediaries (FA form)

Yes

Code of ethics (Annex 3)

No

 

Registration Fee

No

Yes

-£500 (690 €)

-£250 (345 €): the following renewals

Yes

-861 €: 1st year

-Could change the following years

 

-unknown-

Interview and other additional documents

No

Yes

‘Declarations, Acknowledgments and Consents’ Form

Yes

Written request, Interview, 2 photos, CV.

Yes

Criminal record, copy professional liability insurance.

Maximum years Representation Contract with Player

No

Yes

2 years

Yes

2 years

Yes

2 years

3% remuneration recommendation

Yes

Yes

No

Yes, but on the future wage of the player


 CONCLUSION

The mandatory registration requirement for intermediaries with the relevant national association, as stipulated by the FIFA Regulations, the FA Regulations, the RFEF regulations and the CBF Regulations, leave room for a wealth of legal uncertainties that will need to be clarified by football’s governing bodies and the various courts (and also the EU Commission) called to pronounce themselves on those regulations.  Specifically, should an intermediary register himself with every single association where he is supposed to act on behalf of his clients? What would happen if on 31 August (summer transfer window deadline) a Spanish club calls him to sign one of his players and he is not registered in Spain as an intermediary?

Furthermore, every association has a registration fee to satisfy prior to the registration of around 500 €. Taking into account the international dimension of football and its transfer market, it could well be necessary for an intermediary to register himself with a dozen of associations simply to carry out his profession effectively. As a result, he would have to spend roughly 6.000 € in registration fees on a yearly basis.  

Subsequently, this could lead to an increase of the number of corporations, which provide intermediary services. Indeed, the recourse to a transnational agency employing a number of intermediaries registered with different national associations would be a very efficient way to tackle this problem. Thus, at medium long-term, at least at the international level, the new system will probably not generate the chaos that some authors are predicting. In fact, rather than opening the market to everyone, these requirements could well be a barrier of entry for many intermediaries and might trigger a consolidation of the market in a smaller number of bigger players. This has bad sides, less competition, and good sides, more sophisticated players more likely to provide quality services and to care about their long-term reputation. In short, we predict that only the main ‘cowboys’ in the ‘wild west’ will be able to play by the new rules of the game for football intermediaries.



[1] Nick de Marco, “The new FA Intermediaries Regulations & disputes likely to arise”, available at lawinsport.com, 31 March 2015.

[2] Daniel Lowen, ‘A Guide To The FA’s Regulations on Working with Intermediaries’ www.lawinsport.com, 17 February 2015.

[3] Handelsblatt, “Gericht gibt Spielervermittler teils recht”, 30 April 2015.

[4] See FIFA Regulations on Working with intermediaries: Definition of an intermediary, page 4

[5] Appendix II FA Regulations

[6] UEFA ‘Club Licensing Benchmarking Report 2012’, page 54. http://www.uefa.org/MultimediaFiles/Download/Tech/uefaorg/General/02/09/18/26/2091826_DOWNLOAD.pdf

[7] Article 8(4) RFEF Regulations

[8] Article 5(e) CBF Regulations

Comments (2) -

  • Marc Peltier

    5/11/2015 4:03:54 PM |

    Interesting article on the new rules. In France, we have a national legislation which is different from FIFA rules. You still have to pass an exam to get a license in order to be authorized to work as an agent.
    Marc Peltier
    Associate professor
    University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis

  • Gerald Ibeh.

    2/28/2017 10:48:30 AM |

    please how much is required to register a company to act as intermediary in Netherland,Germany,Italy,france,portugal & England.if possible i need a breakdown & requirements of registering a company to act as intermediary in all Uefa member associations.

Comments are closed