As a football lawyer, I also work with players, clubs and football agents on a daily basis …

As a football lawyer, I also work with players, clubs and football agents on a daily basis.

I often deal with legal disputes between players and agents, between agents and clubs, and between clubs and players. An agent representing a player is supposed to look after the player’s interests in the first place, but in order to stay in business he must at the same time maintain good relations with football clubs.

In a situation where there is a conflict between a player and a football club, for example: over the payment or over the termination of a contract, the agent is faced with the choice of whether to represent the player in this dispute, or perhaps not to expose himself to the club and move himself to the shadows.

Usually in such a situation, the agent does not want to be in a contentious situation with the football club, because such a dispute may cause that in the future the football club will no longer want to cooperate with such an agent, and thus the agent will be left without commission.

Do you have similar experience and what do you think about this type of conflict of interest ?

In this type of conflict situation, the player himself or on the recommendation of the agent just goes to a lawyer who is independent and it is the lawyer who enters into a legal dispute with the football club instead of the agent.

Since the recent change in FIFA regulations (FFAR), the role of sports lawyers serving players on a permanent basis in various legal and business areas has been increasing.

I observe a trend in which these are the players who permanently cooperate with the lawyer, and the agent is hired only during the transfer window period to finalize a specific transfer. Preparing the contract, checking it for compliance with regulations, providing ongoing legal advice on the transfer and resolving legal conflicts in the execution of players’ contracts at football clubs are already the daily work of specialized sports lawyers.

The market of football agents is a rather specific environment, being closed and having a limited number of football clubs in which agents can place their players and receive commissions for doing so.

Other problems of football agents are:
– the termination of contracts by players when least expected
– the possibility for players to represent themselves despite a contract with an agent, which essentially deprives agents of the possibility of receiving commissions, and football clubs are increasingly taking advantage of this provision when signing contract with new players
– FIFA’s attempt to limit agents’ commissions
– licensing system for agents
– limited number of customers in the form of solvent football clubs
– the costs of running business
– the development of electronic scouting systems and player databases which football clubs can use, which to some extent eliminates the need to cooperate with agents.

Football agents, already today, must think about changing their business model and look for innovative solutions in order to continue to function effectively in the football environment.

Maybe setting up business with sports lawyers is a good solution ?

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