Turkeys voting for Christmas? Agent body calls for tough global regulation

September 29 – The Association of Football Agents has called for a total reform of the current system in order to tighten it up and make it “globally enforceable” following the revelations in Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper that have rocked the English game.

The trade body for some 300 UK agents says the decision last year to deregulate the system has not worked and has given way to “manipulation and abuse”.

The AFA’s call for stricter rules both in the UK and overseas came after the paper published claims from three agents who said they were aware of eight current and former Premier League managers who took bribes to arrange transfer deals. The allegations came 24 hours after the paper’s shock revelations about the conduct of England manager Sam Allardyce, leading to his dismissal.

“The global move to deregulation has not worked,” the AFA said in a statement following a board meeting in London. “It has allowed the system to be more open to manipulation and abuse.”

“We are totally committed to helping any investigation into the various allegations and to continue to work with the relevant football authorities, led by the FA, to further explore what steps can be taken by English football to put in place an effective system of licensing and codes of conduct for agents,” it said.

“The time has come for the key stakeholders in this country to genuinely come together to establish a new framework for the future and we would be happy to progress those discussions with immediate effect.

“Ultimately, changes to the current set-up should also be enforceable globally and this must involve UEFA and FIFA to help spread best practice around the world and re-introduce a system of licensing and regulation which works and is meaningful. We can make a positive start here to promote a better approach across the game. ”

Meanwhile, the English Football Association has promised to take a harder line against corruption within the game.

The FA, the Premier League and the English Football League issued a joint statement in response to the allegations made in The Daily Telegraph.  “English football takes the governance of the game extremely seriously with integrity being of paramount importance,” said the statement.

“Any substantive allegations will be investigated with the full force of the rules at our disposal, which are wide-ranging and well-developed. In addition, should we find any evidence of criminality we would inform and seek the support of the appropriate statutory authorities.”

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