Is My Football Agent Value for Money

It is impossible to draw direct comparisons between any two licensed football agents, we all operate differently, provide different services and have different areas and levels of expertise.

From an agents perspective ……  

it is infuriating to be directly compared with another agent when you clearly operate very differently and this is not to say one agent is good and one is bad, but just that they are different. I may charge more than some of my brethren but offer a very different service, whereas others may charge more than me and again offer something different again.

One agent may charge a totally different rate to another yet it is clear that they do not offer the same service (for the reasons explained above ), and as such the question could be asked are they value for money for the player client.

From a players perspective (and or their family in the case of a junior player) ……

It can be confusing when deciding which agent to sign with, and which agent is going to provide value for money. Young players are slightly different as unless the player is an elite player or at an elite club the commissions to the agent SHOULD be minimal but then the other concern is that during these informative years the agent is going to be diligent and show a duty of care to the player to help develop their subsequent career.

In essence the representation agreement/contract does have the capacity to include a variety of obligations on behalf of both the agent and the player in terms of the agreement …. So there is the option to make something explicit if need be.

The standard template from the English Football Association (The FA) is in the majority of cases sufficient and typically stands at around 10 sides of A4, however on examining the representation contract template from other national associations it is lucky to have this expand to 2 sides of A4 with in effect no obligations on behalf of either party but tying that player to that agent for anything up to 2 years.

Pause for Thought on this Representation Scenario  – a VERY simple case

  • Player A and Player B are the same age
  • They both play for the same club
  • They both have similar ability and lead similar lifestyles
  • Player A signs a 2 year representation agreement with Agent Y amounting to £20k over the course of 2 year representation term.
  • Player B signs a 2 year representation agreement with Agent Z amounting to £30k over the course of the 2 year representation term (£10k/50% more than player A)
  • Agent Y finalises the 2 year playing contract with the club for his client player A but then does not reappear until the contract is due for renewal
  • Agent Z finalises the 2 year playing contract with the club for his client player B and continues to support his client (Player B) throughout the course of the 2 year representation term.
So which player is better off? , and which agent has provided more value for money?
  • Agent Y has put in 28 hours work over the 2 year representation agreement with player B …. At a cost of approximately £714 per hour
  • Agent Z has put in 728 hours work over the 2 year representation agreement with player B …. At a cost of approximately £41 per hour
  • Not to mention the proper tax, accounting and financial management support Agent Z has looked to help Player B with has probably saved him money
  • Player A is possibly dependant on Agent Y finally re-appearing and securing a new contract for a player he has neglected and possibly now has no relationship with the club.
  • Player B is arguably in a better position to get a new contract and/or progress his career, BUT ALSO has off-field support to manage his career better in the long term

This is just a very very basic and simplified scenario to demonstrate that just because an agent charges less or has a lower rate of commission it is not better value for money for the player as the client.

So in summary … is the agent offering value for money ?

There are certain things a player can do to evaluate whether or not they are getting value for money :

  • Does the agent just deal with contract negotiation and renegotiation
  • What are the obligations of the agent in the representation contract/agreement
  • Don’t take the initial fee or commission rate on face value
  • Is the agents commission gross or net
  • Is the agents commission fixed
  • Is the agents commission inclusive of all taxes
  • What are the terms of other charges that the agent may levy
  • How are commissions paid
  • What services come at additional cost
  • Will the agent (or one of their colleagues) attend matches, meeti with the player and provide ongoing support during the term of representation
  • Seek legal advice before signing the representation agreement (advisably from a legal profession who does not and their firm does not double as Registered Lawyers/Agents).
  • If you want special obligations from the agent adding to the representation agreement don’t be scared to ask
  • Does the agent get paid commissions and/or introducers from third parties

BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY …… if it looks and/or sounds too good to be true …. It probably is.