FIFA’s axe falls on agents with fees cut to 10%

December 16 – The transfer market could potentially be transformed after FIFA announced it will impose a 10% cap on all agents’ fees from next season to tackle the “excessive and abusive” sums taken out of the game.

Following interventions by the Premier League, the European Club Association (ECA) and Fifpro, the international players’ union, the cap will apply to the amount an agent can earn in relation to the transfer fee their client moves for. An additional cap of 3% of a player’s salary will be introduced for services to a player.

Figures released on Wednesday revealed intermediaries earned more than $500 million in 2021 to date, an increase of 0.7% compared to 2020.

European clubs accounted for 95.8% of the total spent on ‘intermediary service fees’, with clubs from England ($133.3 million) way out in front followed by Germany ($84.3 million), Italy ($73.5 million), Spain ($34.8 million), France ($30.3 million) and Portugal ($29.3 million).

The increase in agents’ fees comes despite spending on international transfers dropping by 13.9% in 2021 compared to 2020, and by 23.4% in 2020 compared to 2019 as clubs tightened their belts amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Feedback from key stakeholders with expert knowledge such as the ECA and the Premier League have clearly pointed out the need to ensure all forms of service fees are capped to avoid circumvention and to ensure the cap is effective and addresses the issues identified,” read the FIFA report.

“The simple reality is that, particularly at the top level of the game where such practices are often identified, football agents are very often paid on a fixed-fee basis, and by the engaging club. Failing to cap fixed fees therefore permits abusive and excessive practices to continue.”

FIFA’s director of regulatory football, James Kitching, added: “There is a drop in transfer fees paid [in 2020] but when you expect to see a similar drop in agents fees, instead we see a slight increase.”

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