Should who the player is, really affect the agents duty of care to the player ?


It is safe to say the world of football isn’t immune to stupid comments and also not being the most professional of industries at times. Whether it be a common faux pas made by players via social media, or even the habit of so called ‘pundits’ stating the obvious taken from the standard football lexicon and catalogued clichés (- where players from time to time are ‘on fire’).

However it never fails to amaze me, with some of the stupid comments and attitudes that come to the fore, even when dealing with the business side of football, where making the right decisions are paramount.  This is despite the importance of making key judgement calls that affect serious matters of club finance and peoples livelihoods.
bloggraphic-NoSuarezJust one of these situations where a clear head, common sense and good judgement is required is contract and transfer negotiations.

That said, I am still amazed that a manager said something along the lines of “I don’t know why you are making this so complicated, he is no Luis Suarez”, when referring to one of my clients who they are trying to secure the services of. Now the instinct is to respond with such comments as “well if he was Luis Suarez, I probably wouldnt be talking to you”, but no, I manage to bite my tongue (most of the time) and try to shrug the comment off as ill-judged ‘banter’ and not the serious way in which it is actually meant.

Despite the general nature of such a comment, and observation by the person of the players status and ability, there are more important things to consider here, i.e. :

  • Is it normal for a club (official) to expect a players representative to do the minimum for their client, and not show a ‘duty of care’ ?
  • How many agents/intermediaries aren’t demonstrating the required level  ‘duty of care’ to their clients, just to ‘get the deal done’.
  • Just because a player is, for example : in a lower league, is a squad player or a young player – does this make it  acceptable (even expected) for their agent / intermediary to care any less for their well-being and not to be as thorough ?
  • Not to mention the repercussions if such matters are not dealt with properly and professionally from the outset. At worst possibly resulting in a fine for the club, at best a club-secretary beset with more stress and paperwork that they never deserved – not too mention possible hassle from the manager, chief executive and chairman when the player they signed cannot play.

If a player isn’t an ‘elite’ player or a household name, does he deserve any lesser ‘duty of care’ shown to him (by either agent or club)?

Granted different players require different types and levels of support from their representatives and advisers, as in every walk of life we are all different. No two players are the same and/or have the same needs or requirements in terms of support they want or require.

Over the course of their career (even the term of their representation with a specific agent/intermediary) the character, needs and requirements of the player-client will frequently change and it is the job of the agent to adapt to these changes. However at such a crucial time of a contract negotiation or transfer, the duty of care and professionalism demonstrated by the agent/intermediary towards the player should be paramount; if not greatly enhanced at such a time. The decisions made at this point will not just affect that one moment in time, but possibly 2,3,4 or 5 years of a contract term. Possibly even longer than that, in terms of the players long term career, career progression and future life.

So in taking all of this into consideration the agent/ intermediary (whilst being realistic and professional) should demonstrate the utmost duty of care to their client and not be criticised and/or penalised for being thorough and professional in undertaking their fiduciary duty to their client.

I will never apologise for being thorough and professional when it is required so as to best represent the interests of my client and maintain my fiduciary duty to them. Not least to a club or club-official where I am representing a player, where we are in effect on the opposite side of the ‘negotiating table’.

We have to recognise that this is a people orientated business, and no matter who you are dealing with, their status, standard or age ; if you are charged with the duty of representing them, the agent/representative/intermediary has a duty of care to uphold this duty to the client.