When buying your first house, you want to pay the set price or below. You wouldn’t pay the estate agent triple the price of the house, so why can football agents get away with taking the biggest slice of the fee?
The Premier League paid out £211 million to agents last season. £211 million. More than enough, right…barbaric amounts of money, wouldn’t you agree? There has been a weakness from football to act in the past, but now it seems that, finally, Fifa are taking action.
Recent reports from the Telegraph implied that Fifa were considering applying a cap to agents’ fees – making them payable only via the player they represent. Seems a simple regulation to implement; it may seem a bit late, especially considering the way that the media have portrayed agents in recent years for their negative influence, but it is such a monumental act of courage from football’s world governing body.
Should they need courage though? Fifa are, after all, chiefs of the best sport in the world, but why it has taken this long for them to act on agents’ unbelievable pay cheques is beyond all of our imaginations. We can all agree and accept that people who do their job to a high standard deserve to be paid well. Agents are no different, as the likes of Jorge Mendes – who represents an abundance of world superstars – proves. There is no way that all parties concerned are happy with agents earning such unthinkable sums as part of ‘negotiations.’ In transfer negotiations, why would the football club, stakeholders and player want to be giving the agents involved more than they need to?
It has now been 10 years since the Premier League agreed to publish the records of agents’ earnings – that was a start to realising the problem. Where that money comes from though – that’s what needs to be investigated now.
Recent revelations about Jadon Sancho’s transfer to Manchester City at the age of just 14 showed they agreed to pay Sancho’s agent (Emeka Obasi) £200k for the transfer at the time, while paying his parent club Watford just £66k for the deal. One man receives enough to buy a house, while the professional and respected football club get just over £55k…something doesn’t quite add up.
Whichever way you look at it, the signs are indifferent – agents have too much power. Fifa have done the right thing by throwing the idea of a cap on agents’ fees into the ring. It certainly doesn’t apply to all agents, but they are clearly toying with deals to suit their own personal gains. Capping their fees would temporarily solve the issue and send a defiant message that football is in charge. But their authority will be demonstrated in the way that they handle the backlash from agents.
The AFA (Association for Football Agents) insinuated that capping their fees will result in a fluctuation in transfer fees as they seek to maintain their lofty wages. Frankly, it’s childish, disgusting, but Fifa standing strong and developing foundations will ensure agents’ influence in future negotiations are restricted, for good.
No one’s denying the importance of their role, but as some of their outrageous fees show, they overestimate their importance in football.