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  • Writer's picturemec. Karol Dygdoń

How will the work of football agents be impacted by FIFA Football Agent Regulations?

As of 1 October 2023, the long-announced sweeping reform of the rules for football transaction agents, from now on again referred to as football agents, a return to the nomenclature prior to 1 April 2015, took effect. The reform has been carried out both internationally and domestically, through the FIFA Football Agent Regulations documents and the PZPN Football Agents Regulations.

Football agent's remuneration under new rules

The new regulations introduce numerous rules relating to the remuneration of a football agent. The maximum commission payable to the agent is 5% (for a player's annual remuneration up to PLN 800,000 or the equivalent of that amount) and 3% for high value contracts (a player's annual remuneration exceeding PLN 800,000). Importantly, the reduced value of the commission only applies to the excess over the PLN 800,000 threshold. The above values increase to 10% and 6% respectively in the case of permitted (subject to additional conditions) dual representation, when the agent represents both sides of the football contract.

The player's remuneration, which is the basis for the calculation of the commission, includes the basic salary as well as any bonuses and any amounts payable upon fulfilment of certain conditions (including bonuses for e.g. number of appearances, goals scored, national championship or cup, promotion to European competitions). The salary does not include the agreed future transfer equivalent and any non-salary benefits, such as the provision of a car and accommodation. FIFA and the Polish Football Association have also introduced provisions to counteract the circumvention of the above limits through the provision of consultancy services to the player, management of image rights and negotiation of commercial contracts.

Under the new rules, a football agent may receive remuneration for services rendered to a minor player if that player signs his or her first or subsequent professional football contract.

With some exceptions for players whose annual salary does not exceed PLN 200,000, the remuneration to the football agent will be due directly from the player, in order to move away from the practice of clubs paying agents outside the actual knowledge of the players. Payments to football agents will be paid in quarterly instalments over the duration of the football contract negotiated by the agent. In addition, payments will be made through the FIFA Clearing House, but only after appropriate provisions have been made in the FIFA Clearing House Regulations.

Representation agreement for two years only

Intermediation contracts have been replaced by representation contracts. With the exception of a further change in nomenclature, the duration of such contracts has been limited to a maximum of two years for contracts with players. Any provision for automatic or unilateral renewal or any other provision which seeks to extend the duration of the contract beyond the maximum period of two years is absolutely void.

Furthermore, an agent cannot enter into a representation agreement or even make contact with a player who is bound by a contract with another football agent containing an exclusivity clause, except for the last two months of the representation agreement with the exclusivity clause, in order to limit the 'poaching' of players by rival agents in the football market.

Significant revision of concluded contracts

Pursuant to the transitional provisions, agency agreements concluded before 1 October 2023, which do not meet the minimum requirements provided for in the Football Agents Regulations of the Polish Football Association, if not adapted to the new requirements, ceased to be in force on 1 October 2023. Thus, it is necessary to review the contracts concluded so far with a view to the necessity to conclude new ones corresponding to the current regulations, as well as to adapt the contracts concluded to the new legal state of the football market. It should not be forgotten that for conducting business contrary to FIFA and PZPN regulations, a football agent faces not only a challenge to his right to remuneration, but also the risk of disciplinary liability and loss of authorisation.

It is to be expected that practice in the use of the new regulations will take shape in the following months, while FIFA and the Football Association will publish further guidelines and clarifications. As such, we are in a particularly important period for agents and other players in the football market.

We invite the LAWWISE law firm to be contacted by entities interested in implementing the new regulations into their business, as well as in establishing permanent cooperation (including on an exclusive basis). As part of our experience in the football market, we have reviewed agency agreements (representation contracts) as well as football contracts for the major European leagues, in particular: Championship, League One (England), Premiership (Scotland), Eredivisie (Netherlands), Jupiler Pro League (Belgium), Superligaen (Denmark), Süper Lig (Turkey), Super League (Switzerland), Protathlima Cyta (Cyprus), Ekstraklasa, I Liga, II Liga (Poland) - we have the right know-how for legal services in the dynamic football market.


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