Often we get approached by professional football players (of varying age, level and experience) to represent them and/or offer them advice in regards to their current football agency representation, but most of the time we can do little or nothing to help unless, they are :

  1. Represented by an unlicensed intermediary, or
  2. Under a non-exclusive representation agreement with a licensed agent/representative, or
  3. Their representation agreement has expired, or
  4. Their representation agreement is in the last month of the contract term, or
  5. Their agent has left (or is looking to leave) their parent company/agency, or
  6. A related sporting governing body has found and confirmed that the existing agent/representative is in breach of the existing representation agreement

And as is so often the case, our advice would be one of the following:

  1. Speak to the agent concerned and try to resolve the situation, or
  2. Speak to the Football Association(s) concerned to see if they can help, or
  3. Seek independent legal advice, which can be costly unless you find a fixed fee provider.

We would be lying if we said that we had not experienced one of our clients either intimating or saying …. “I am not happy with you as my agent, you are not doing your job” …… and probably it is often down to the fact that the expectation of the client far outweighs what the agent can do for them, or it was miscommunicated in the first place what was offered and what was expected.

This is why it is vitally important no matter what the age of the player and their situation that they give due consideration to the agents they are considering representing them (or the agents who want to represent them) and find out if it matches their expectations, and also give themselves time to give due consideration to the representation agreement.

It can quickly become apparent that the relationship between player and agent does not work, or it may take far longer for the relationship to break down and quite often this can happen very quickly with a trigger that effectively becomes the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ and something that was not foreseen by either party, either in the short or long term.

So what happens when that relationship breaks down between a footballer and his agent? Well obviously the first port of call you would think is mutual remedy and although this may not be the most attractive proposition with a possible air of mistrust, it is often the easiest solution and the most cost-effective for both parties. If it is solely miscommunication or disproportionate expectation, a reasonable agreement will more than likely be reached which at the very worst needs the representation contract amending and possibly the assistance of the Football Association or an unconnected legal third party to assist.

If both parties have tried to find a mutual remedy to the problem and/or don’t want to discuss matters; what happens next between agent and player? …… well this is where it can start to get messy and needless to say quite expensive. The first step is to find out  if and then who (if any) is in breach of the representation contract.  Quite often it can be interpreted that “the agent hasn’t done this” or “the player has done that” which may be deemed a breach of the contract (then again it may not), if this is the case then the association and sporting governing bodies MAY be able to act in cancelling the representation agreement/contract and the player and agent in the sports eyes can ‘part ways’ and get on with their careers. However it is not always this straightforward and may still see the case go a legal route and/or through arbitration which can take time and have a cost.

So if a footballer wants to change their agent and/or has a disagreement with their agent what can they do :

  1. Talk to the agent and see if an amicable agreement can be reached (e.g. change of representation contract terms, exclusive to non-exclusive)
  2. Talk to the Football Association for their advice
  3. Talk to a qualified legal adviser for their advice (some have fixed fees rather than incurring spiralling legal costs) but make sure they are not registered lawyers in football terms
  4. What until the representation contract expires, and/ or the representation is in the last month – at which time the player can choose to talk to another licensed agent
  5. If the agent changes employers/agencies you may be free to renegotiate and/or cancel the current representation contract

What shouldn’t a player do if they want to change their agent?

  1. Do not talk to or approach another agent, whether with or without a view to signing a new representation contract
  2. Do not breach the contract that is in question with the current agent
  3. Do not look to an unlicensed intermediary to help, advise or assist you

Although we believe that at Chiron we can offer good service and support to the majority of sporting clients (including professional footballers) we would still recommend that potential clients take time to consider the offer and agreement presented. This may in turn lead to us losing potential clients, it does however limit unsatisfactory working relationship that can last up to 2 years and cost a lot of money.