On 21 November 2006, the Football Association (FA) approved and implemented the new domestic Football Agents Regulations (the Regulations), which came into effect in September 2007. Whilst it is too early to ascertain the impact of the Regulations on conduct of player agents, they have sparked controversy with existing player agents, with numerous threats of legal action against the FA challenging legality of the Regulations . The drive behind the Regulations was the FA's determination to establish a clear set of guidelines in response to a string of high profile misconduct claims involving football agents . However, the furore surrounding the Regulations led chairman of the Association of Football Agents (AFA) Mel Stein to argue that the "regulations go far beyond having a relationship between licensed agents and the FA ", resulting in what he terms as a "witch hunt" .On the other hand, the FA argued that these changes were good for restoring confidence in the game and that "what we are doing is bringing in a set of regulations which will improve transparency, address potential conflicts of interest and better and move effectively regulate these areas of the game" .
[...] Furthermore, G4 of the Regulations provide that where an agent acts directly or indirectly on behalf of the player: “only that Player may remunerate the Authorised Agent for the Agency Activity, whether directly or indirectly.” Accordingly, payments cannot be made by the club, and payments made by the player will be by way a genuine deduction by the Player's Club from the salary payable to the Player, at the Player's written instruction, so that the sum is paid to the Authorised Agent”. [...]
[...] Whilst it remains to be seen whether the FA's intentions as embodied in the Regulations will be enforced or remain a rhetorical restriction on player agents, it will be interesting to see how far agents will attempt to comply with the provisions in light of the FA's record under the previous regulations. One of the most controversial changes proposed by the Regulations is the abolition of dual representation. Part C of the Regulations provides that Authorised Agent may only act for one party to a Transaction or Contract Negotiation. [...]
[...] Accordingly, notwithstanding the justifiable policy objectives of the Regulations, by focusing solely on restricting abusive practice without giving thought to the machinations of the football business, the Regulations have failed to strike a balance between competing interests. It remains to be seen how the practical impact of the Regulations will unfold in the future and now doubt both the FA and the AFA will be awaiting the outcome in the Berry appeal with much anticipation to determine which way the pendulum will swing. [...]
[...] Moreover, previously, clubs have been able to pay an agent on behalf of the player and then claim it is a benefit in kind, making tax free payments for the player. However, under the new rules, the agent will be liable for tax on fee paid to him, either directly by the player or by the club out of his wages. However, agents have argued that the fee should be “allowed for as it is in other sections of the entertainment industry. [...]
[...] Football agents tackle FA on new rules February 2007. Available at www.news.bbc.co.uk FA Football Agents Regulations FIFA Player Agents Regulations Websites www.news.bbc.co.uk www.fifa.com www.thefac.com www.thetelegraph.co.uk www.theguardian.co.uk www.europa.eu Bill Wilson (2007). Football agents tackle FA on new rules February 2007. Available at www.news.bbc.co.uk Simon Gardner (2006). Sports Law. 3rd Edition. Routledge Cavendish. Bill Wilson (2007). Football agents tackle FA on new rules February 2007. Available at www.news.bbc.co.uk Bill Wilson (2007). Football agents tackle FA on new rules February 2007. Available at www.news.bbc.co.uk Ibid. [...]
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