Unqualified Football Agents (Intermediaries) Risk Kids’ Futures.

SPA (FPA) Founder Mel Eves talks about the risks unqualified football agents pose to young footballers (and their families) in the Sunday Mercury.

 

This week I was made aware of the sanctions announced recently by the FA against football agents (now known in the latest jargon as ‘intermediaries’) who have broken the rules which govern their activities. Of particular interest to me was the fact that 15 of the 18 disciplinary charges relate to unauthorised dealings between intermediaries and players under the age of 16. A couple of months ago I helped to found the Sports Parents Association (SPA) to give parents somewhere to go to get impartial and informed advice about everything their child could encounter during their sporting journey.

Well this news about FA registered intermediaries ( formerly called agents) and their is certainly an area where parents need to be more aware. Quite rightly this is attracting significant attention from the FA’s disciplinary team.

I find that very few parents are fully aware of the regulations governing intermediaries, and their obligations when dealing with intermediaries. Amazingly enough there is also evidence that knowledge of these regulations within some clubs and academies is also limited. I have found that some parents and even club officials don’t know how to check if an intermediary is registered with the FA or not. Then, even if an intermediary is actually registered with the FA, they still have to be authorised to represent minors between the ages of 16 to 18. Up until a player is 18 years of age they cannot sign with an intermediary without their parent’s (or guardian’s) consent.

Previous licensing procedures for agents (pre April 2015) had more thorough requirements and applicable regulations with an exam and professional indemnity insurance required as a minimum. Now anyone who can come up with £250 registration fee and £250 per annum can become an intermediary. This has led to unqualified intermediaries not knowing the basic regulations in representing young players, which in some cases can negatively affect the players progress in the game.

Since the change in the regulations there has been a sharp increase in the number of people able to represent players. There are now roughly 1700 registered intermediaries in England alone, for roughly 4000 players, which has led to intermediaries casting their net wider to cover clubs further down the league system and also dealing with younger players.

I believe there needs to be some governance and good practice being exercised by the intermediaries here. however much we might like them to, the FA can’t do it all themselves. It is therefore refreshing to see that the Society of Football Intermediaries and Agents (SOFIA) has recently been formed to do just that.

 

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