EPFL shows the way forward on Sports Agents’ Regulations

Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, EPFL CEO
Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, EPFL CEO

The EPFL CEO Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros and EPFL Board member Holger Hieronymus played a key role at the two days European Commission’s Conference on Sports Agents.

The Conference aimed to evaluate the current situation concerning the activities of sports agents in the dominant team sports in Europe. This EU initiative, which was welcome by all participants, represented a fruitful platform for the European Leagues and the other key stakeholders to exchange views and best practices in place at national and international level. During the two-day Conference a series of pressing issues were addressed and lively debated, including

– The regulation of the activities of sports agents;
– Presentation of the main findings of the independent study on Sport Agents in the EU (2010);
– The activities of sports agents in team sports outside football;
– Possible solutions at EU level, including standardisation through the CEN.

Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, EPFL CEO, and Gregory Paulger, EC Director for Youth and Sport
Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, EPFL CEO, and Gregory Paulger, EC Director for Youth and Sport

“Over the years, our Leagues have sought to eradicate the activities of unscrupulous and unregulated agents. However, under the new FIFA draft regulations there will be no restrict regarding the identity of these individuals, their credentials or qualifications, financial security of their ability to provide agency services to clubs and players. It is therefore feared FIFA’s new ‘free for all approach’ may, unintentionally, open the door to unqualified, unregulated and unscrupulous intermediaries, whose actions may further compromise the integrity of the game”, explained Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, before unveiling a number of regulatory proposals advocated by the EPFL, including:

  • Registration of all intermediaries by national association/leagues (of the country of domicile and of any country where they perform their activity);
  • Payments either by clubs or players to intermediaries must be done solely to registered intermediaries;
  • Payments must be done via national associations/leagues, through the establishment of clearing house systems both at national and international level. This implies the transformation of the current FIFA Transfer matching System into a real clearing house or, at least, the establishment of a payment machine systems;
  • Creation of an intermediaries database by national associations/leagues (namely to ensure public knowledge on who represents who) ;
  • Disclosure and publication of certain economic aspects of the financial transactions involving intermediaries (e.g. the overall amount of fees paid to the registered intermediaries), safeguarding all confidential aspects, such as their identity; and
  • Review the percentage of fees paid to intermediaries

Holger Hieronymus, DFL Deputy CEO and EPFL Member of the Board of Directors
Holger Hieronymus, DFL Deputy CEO and EPFL Member of the Board of Directors

At the conclusion of the Conference, the Deputy CEO of the DFL Bundesliga and Member of the EPFL Board Holger Hieronymus stated: “the Conference organized by the European Commission provided a very interesting exchange of views and best practices on how to best tackle the problems surrounding the activity of sports agents. We appreciate that the Commission as well as FIFA have sought our views and taken in due consideration our concerns and proposals. It has been very interesting to hear how other sports deal with this issue. It seems clear that FIFA should reconsider its position on this matter and develop a deeper consultation involving all key stakeholders”.

The EU Conference was attended by several EPFL Member Leagues and Associate Members, such as the DFL Bundesliga; Italian Lega Serie A; Swiss Football League, French LFP and UCPF; The Premier League and The Football League, among others.

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