On January 9, 2023, the FIFA Council began the process of implementing its new FIFA Football Agent Regulations (FFAR) which will take effect on October 1, 2023. Agents, clubs, and players should prepare for full FFAR implementation by familiarizing themselves with how the changes will affect their work.
Mandatory Licensing in the New FIFA Football Agent Regulations
After October 1, 2023, players and clubs will only be allowed to work with licensed FIFA agents. Agents must meet eligibility requirements, pay a fee, pass a licensing exam, and comply with continuing professional development (CPD) requirements. Receiving a FIFA license authorizes agents to offer worldwide football agent services.
Agents who conduct their affairs through an agency must not allow employees or contractors who are not licensed agents to perform football agent services. A licensed agent remains responsible for the affairs conducted by their agency, its employees, contractors, and other representatives.
Restrictions on Signing Minors
Protecting the rights of young players is one of FIFA’s core objectives, so under the new rules, agents are prohibited from approaching a minor and/or their legal guardian until six months before the minor reaches the age where they may sign a professional contract in the territory where they will be employed. Agents must obtain written consent from the minor’s legal guardian before approaching the minor directly.
Additionally, agents who want to represent minors or clubs in transactions involving minors must first complete a CPD course on minors and ensure they are compliant with the law in the territory where the minor plans to be employed.
Before an agent enters into a representation agreement with a player, or before amending an existing representation agreement with a player, the agent is required to tell the player in writing that they should consider hiring an independent lawyer to review the representation agreement.
Limits on Multiple Representation in the New FIFA Football Agent Regulations
Under the new rules, a football agent may perform services for an individual and an engaging entity in the same transaction only if prior explicit written consent is given by both clients.
Commission Caps for FIFA Agents
The new FIFA regulations limit the commissions that agents are allowed to earn. For example, when the client is an individual, the agent will be able to earn a maximum 5% commission when the total annual remuneration (i.e., the gross financial compensation) is under $200,000 (USD) or 3% when the total annual remuneration is over $200,000 (USD). This includes the player’s basic salary, as well as any sign-on fee and conditional payments such as a loyalty or performance bonus. However, it does not include the value of benefits such as the provision of a vehicle, accommodations, or telephone services and sell-on fees in favor of the player.
FIFA’s introduction of a “client pays” principle will prohibit clubs from paying agent fees on a player’s behalf unless their remuneration is below $200,000 (USD).
The new FIFA fooball agent regulations stress the need for transparency in contract negotiations. FIFA will make the following information publicly available:
- Names and details of all football agents
- Clients that a football agent represents, the exclusivity or non-exclusivity of their representation, and the expiration date of each representation agreement
- The football agent services provided to each client
- If applicable, the sanctions imposed on football agents and their clients
- Details of all transactions involving football agents, including the service fee amounts received by each agent
Jurisdiction for FIFA Disputes
FIFA has established the Agents Chamber of the Football Tribunal to hear disputes arising out of, or in connection with, a representation agreement with an international component. When a dispute involves a purely domestic representation agreement, the case will be handled according to the national football federation’s statutes and bylaws.
Our International Sports Lawyers Can Help Protect Your Rights
Whether you’re dealing with a high-stakes FIFA dispute, or need an independent lawyer to review a FIFA representation agreement, Global Sports Advocates is here to help. International sports lawyers Paul Greene and Matthew Kaiser are leaders in the field of sports law and advocate for the rights of players, coaches, agents, and clubs in a wide range of FIFA DRC and CAS cases. Contact us online or call us directly at +1-207-747-5899 to schedule an initial one-hour consultation.