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2015: A Decisive Year in the History of Football Agents

Before 2015, it was notoriously difficult to become a Football Agent. You needed to pay a £100,000 bond which became your indemnity insurance, you had to pass a stringent exam that even Doctors and Lawyers were failing on subjects including contractual negotiations and visa requirements, then after all that – you still had to pass your DBS check.

These tough criteria meant that a lot of people weren’t registering themselves as an Agent and transfers and contracts were being negotiated under the radar and FIFA had no idea who was carrying out these negotiations on the player’s behalf; a problem for the world’s largest football governing body as they couldn’t keep track.

In 2015, FIFA decided to deregulate the industry which opened the proverbial floodgates – there were 500 registered Agents at the time, within three years, this number rose to 4,000 worldwide. This steep incline was down to the criteria changing; no more remortgage-worthy indemnity insurance, no more doctorate busting exams: only the DBS check remained.

I’ll use England as an example: all you have to do to register as an “Intermediary” is pay £500+VAT and pass a code of ethics assessment, which is simple.

Yes, genuinely, that’s it.

The positive is that anyone can do it. Even you, right now, could go and register yourself and start trying to represent players. Maybe one of your offspring is doing well in an academy, or maybe one of your friend’s children is doing well in his Saturday league and his Dad is posing some questions. Maybe you’ve got a friend who is at an academy and is pushing for a reserve team spot – register yourself and you could go and represent them.

Although, I wouldn’t suggest it: it’s a double-edged sword.

An appealing prospect but a risky one if you don’t have the right knowledge. Many Intermediaries have found themselves stumbling at the first hurdle because they go into a boardroom with little to no knowledge or experience; an encounter that can damage their reputation, the reputation of their fledgling talent of a client, and can leave a sour taste in the mouth of the club that is looking to buy.

Agents have had a bad reputation in the past; being overpaid – a lot of professionals blame them for the steep rise in transfer fees over recent years, shady deals and underhanded negotiation tactics. The 2015 deregulation led to a rebrand of the word “Agent” to “Intermediary”, a new name for a new age of player management. Whether it lasts, time will tell.

To carry out the day-to-day responsibilities of being an Intermediary, you need the right knowledge and e-Careers have teamed up with experienced Intermediary John Viola to provide you with the Football Intermediary Certificate. Now you, you who has the offspring in the academy, you who has the friend’s child doing well in his Saturday league team, the friend who is at the academy pushing for a reserve team spot, can learn the knowledge that Intermediaries use every day.

This will provide you with the ideal foundations to register and start representing players. If you would like more information, call 0203 198 7606.