Some soccer enthusiasts, who love the sport, dream of working in the football industry. As a result, some take the path of agents. So what requirements are currently placed on candidates for this profession? What have FIFA regulations changed in this regard? What to do to become a football agent?
FIFA licensing exam
A novelty that every soccer agent currently faces is the licensing exam administered by the international soccer federation. Both agent candidates and soccer agents themselves must pass an international exam prepared by FIFA. It is not yet known whether such exams can also be taken in Poland under the system prepared by the Polish Football Association. This depends on the agreements of the Polish Football Association with FIFA and the fulfilment by the national federation of the requirements set by the world organization.
The exam is to be a multiple-choice test. It will last 60 minutes and will consist of 20 questions. The threshold for passing the exam has been set quite high, as at least 75% of correct answers are required.
FIFA has published some sample training questions – these were not among the most difficult for those familiar with international regulations. However, it is still unclear at what level the actual exam itself will stand, as no exam has yet been held under the new formula. The first exam will be held on April 19. The second date is September 20, 2023, and enrolment will run from May 1, 2023 to July 31, 2023. Two more dates will be set for 2024, but FIFA has not yet announced specific dates.
Licensing of transaction agents
Starting in October 2023, every soccer agent will be required to purchase a license from FIFA. The license will be subject to an annual fee, and the first fee must be paid within 90 days of passing the exam. Delay in doing so will result in forfeiture of the license, as if the soccer agent had not taken the exam at all.
The license is granted for an indefinite period, but must be paid for on an annual basis (not necessarily for the season) and is a prerequisite for representing clubs, players and coaches. Footballers, too, should make sure before working with a football agent that the transaction broker has a valid license. Previously, it was possible to look at the registration system of transaction intermediaries for this purpose, but now the creation of such a public registration system, which could be looked at by club and player, is not a foregone conclusion.
What requirement should a football agent meet?
It is worth noting that specific requirements are placed on football agents by FIFA regulations. The following prerequisites must be met:
1. the statements made by football agents in the form are all truthful;
2. the football agent has never been convicted by a final judgment (public indictment or otherwise) in cases related to: organized crime, drug trafficking, corruption, bribery, money laundering, tax evasion, fraud, match manipulation, misappropriation of funds, breach of fiduciary duty, forgery, legal malpractice, sexual abuse, violence, harassment, exploitation or trafficking of children or vulnerable young persons;
3. the agent has never been suspended for a period of two years or more, or been subject to a disqualification or regulatory penalty imposed by any governing body of the sport for non-compliance with rules relating to professional ethics;
4. the agent must not be an employee of FIFA, a member federation, a league, a club, a body representing the interests of clubs or leagues, or any organization directly or indirectly affiliated with such organizations and industry entities;
5. the agent shall not own, either personally or through his agency, any shares in a soccer club, academy or league.
There is also the question of whether an agent who represents the interests of a player or a club can act as part of an agency? According to the new regulations, yes, but such an agency itself will not have a license. In other words, the agency can be a company under which licensed agents operate and perform all activities. Thus, even if a club or a soccer player signs a contract with an agency, activities related to the protection of his interests will still be carried out with a licensed agent. On the other hand, it is forbidden for unlicensed persons to serve football players and clubs within an agency, unless it is for simple activities such as invoicing for services.
What are the implications of the FIFA regulations in Poland?
In Poland, the situation will be similar to the international regulations. Although FIFA regulations apply only to international transactions, national associations must adopt the same regulations as enacted by FIFA, possibly even stricter for agents. Also in Poland, one will have to pass an exam and pay for an annual license. It is not known, however, whether the exams will be organized personally by the Polish Football Association or whether it will be necessary to go to an international exam. It is also not a foregone conclusion that the registration system for agents in Poland will be abolished, but its shape will certainly change. So it remains to wait for upcoming information on further changes.