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When Agents and Soccer Collide

Rob Hughes reports that earlier this week the British Parliament debated about what is to be done about soccer. The members of Britain’s house of politics lamented some players' being paid upward of $1.6 million a month and castigated player agents as parasites. They regretted foreign ownership of England’s clubs. And they described soccer’s regulatory bodies as beyond redemption.

Meanwhile in Zurich at the FIFA headquarters the issue of agents was being discussed at the International Football Arena. FIFA’s head of players’ status and governance, Omar Ongaro, told the sports business conference that starting next season FIFA no longer intended to license agents. Regulation and responsibility for the agents would be shifted to the clubs and the national associations but that FIFA would place a cap on agents’ commissions, restricting their take of the multimillion-dollar transfer fee to 3 percent.

FIFA currently licenses 5,718 agents around the globe. “We think FIFA is fed up with the administration of the problem,” Rob Jansen, the president of the European Football Agents Association said. “What we think will happen is total chaos.”

“When there is a problem with people robbing banks, the solution is not to close the banks. But this is what is happening here. Our suggestion was not to stop licensing, but to make it stronger."

Read the whole story at New York Times »

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