Fifa urged to tighten rules on money super-agents make from transfers

·3-min read
<span>Photograph: Reuters</span>
Photograph: Reuters
  • Report into football governance will suggest solidarity system

  • Lord Foulkes will outline proposals to Council of Europe


Fifa should tighten its proposed rules on intermediaries to limit the money made by super-agents, the influential Council of Europe will be told on Wednesday.

A cap on the amount agents can make in any transaction and on the service fees they can charge are among the ideas to be put forward, alongside the creation of a solidarity system that would lead to money filtering from the biggest clubs in Europe to smaller leagues and teams.

The recommendations form part of a report by the council’s committee on culture, science, education and media into football governance that, if adopted, would mean the council would be broadly endorsing the new rules while setting absolute limits on the money an agent can make on any deal. Fifa is trying to implement its reforms in the face of stern opposition from top agents.

Lord Foulkes, who sits on the committee, will make the proposals on Wednesday, with Fifa’s president, Gianni Infantino, in attendance at a session of the council’s parliamentary assembly. Foulkes will be highly critical of the current system. A draft version of the report to be put in front of the assembly said the transfer market, despite its “fundamental importance” to football, had created a mechanism where “huge sums circulate among the elite clubs in a solipsistic economy of limited circulation of resources”.

In his report, Foulkes says the need for agents to have “fair and reasonable” earnings must be matched against “avoiding conflicts of interest, protecting the players, avoiding pressure towards contractual instability and preventing abusive, excessive and speculative practices”.

Therefore, he writes: “I believe we must insist in asking that all commissions and fees paid to agents are capped, registered, disclosed and monitored.”

This would include capping the absolute amount payable to an agent acting on behalf of a selling club, with a suggested limit of $10m (£7.4m).

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Although the report is largely supportive of Fifa’s transfer reforms it does criticise the governing body in other areas, calling for the abandonment of plans for a biennial World Cup. The report also affirms ongoing opposition to the idea of a European Super League and calls for greater protection for the safety and rights of minors within the game.

The Council of Europe is an international organisation comprised of 47 member states, including the UK, which exists to champion “human rights, democracy and the rule of law”. If the report submitted by Foulkes is approved by the parliamentary assembly, and a subsequent vote by a council of ministers, member governments will be expected to lobby for its implementation.

Fifa is soliciting responses from around the game on the third version of its proposed reforms, with feedback expected to continue until the end of the month. It remains hopeful of implementing the rules this year. The Football Forum, an organisation created by the agents Mino Raiola, Jorge Mendes and Jonathan Barnett to “implement and develop the best professional practice of football agency”, has spoken out against the reforms. It was approached by the Guardian for comment.

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