So the time is fast approaching where myself and many other intermediaries are considering whether or not  they will renew their  registration with the FA (Football Association), whether they are new intermediaries or were previously licensed football agents before the regulations changed in April 2015 (hence the annual renewal).

Now to many it may seem a ‘no-brainer’ that to retain your place in the industry you pay the renewal fee to the association and renew, but is it really that simple?

The key question to ask is “What are the benefits to being a registered intermediary?”, and when you look at the industry it is difficult to see any key benefits.

 


 

The ‘Benefits’ of Being Registered

 

License to Operate?

Whilst being a ‘registered intermediary’ is meant to give you a license to operate in football in the territory where you are registered (which it does), does it stop those who aren’t registered from operating or give you an advantage over these individuals? The answer is a resounding NO! (in both cases).

Much like the football agents license that existed before, it is little more than a token gesture on the registrants part to operate within the rules, and for the football authorities to rubber stamp the fact that the registrant meets their minimum requirements (whilst pocketing a fee to administrate the process).

I would hazard a guess that if the question was asked of the football authorities ‘what do they do about non-registered intermediaries’, it will be a similar answer to that when they were previously asked about what they do in tackling ‘unlicensed agents’ …………………….

‘Well, we can’t do anything as they aren’t registered (licensed) ‘

 

Supporting Rules and Regulations?

So where do the rules and regulations actually support those intermediaries (agents) that register and choose to operate within the said regulations.

Well in essence the rules and regulations should have the capacity to penalise those football participants (e.g. clubs, players, non-registered parties) who work with or entertain non-registered intermediaries (whether nationally or internationally). However it is difficult to highlight many cases where this actually happens, and in those cases where it has happened the penalties have been so meagre or worthless in the football world, and even then they have been ‘suspended’ with a warning on future conduct.

After all, under the new intermediary regulations if a national association is found not to be upholding the intermediary regulations to a satisfactory level they answer to FIFA ……….. yes that’s right FIFA ……… ahhhhuuuuuummmmmmm –  I will leave that one there for another day (think they have enough to sort out, at the time of writing this.).

But this is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’, as anyone who actively operates in the industry will tell you that a vast proportion of deals and negotiations that go usually involve unlicensed/non-registered individuals who operate with no recognition of the rules and regulations. But why, after all it is easier to register now than ever before (i.e. many of those who couldn’t get an agents license are now registered intermediaries …….. I wonder why ?????)

 

Protection for Intermediary (agent), Players and Clubs?

The one argument that I can give as to why intermediaries should register with the relevant national football association, is that of protecting the interests of their clients (i.e. whether player or club). By the client working with a registered intermediary they are operating within the rules. So in effect a registered intermediary should be demonstrating intent of a clear ‘duty of care’ to their client(s).

However let’s consider this argument further – the above assumption as to the football intermediary demonstrating a ‘duty of care’ to their client by being registered is somewhat irrelevant. Purely because we are talking about the people here who want to at least demonstrate a modicum of professionalism by (i) being registered, (ii) recognising and upholding the rules and (iii) working in the best interests of their client.

But the flip-side of this is those individuals who (i) can’t be bothered to register, (ii) don’t want to operate within the rules, and (iii) have little or no care or consideration for the client(s) not ignoring the fact there is a likelihood of the client(s) being penalised for using an non-registered or unlicensed agent/intermediary.

 


 

So on reflection is it really worth renewing your registration (or registering in the first place with an additional fee), when all it does in effect is tie the registered person to a set of regulations (however effective and well-meaning) that restricts them and puts them at arguably a competitive disadvantage to those that choose not to register.

So for me, I probably will renew for another year and see if any attempt is made by the football authorities (not just The FA) to tidy up this mess ……. the reason ……. to protect the best interests of my clients, so that they are not penalised for using an unregistered intermediary.

 

After all if you do register and break the rules what can the football authorities do …..take your registration (license away) ?