Both FIFA and UEFA have an obligation to safeguard the future of football. The European governing body’s plan to regulate the spending of its constituency members is an admirable, and necessary, step. There are other areas though where UEFA could potentially step in to regulate certain parts of the sport. For example, player transfers. It is so interlinked with the problems facing the sport at this present time that for many it seems like the next logical step for Platini to take.

Such an exercise would undoubtedly come with challenges but it could be a valuable opportunity to stamp out certain, less favourable elements of the sport. Attempting to do so would not come without opposition but providing it received the backing of the clubs it could prove worthwhile.

The primary benefit of having a UEFA regulated transfer market would be that agents would become, for the most part, redundant. There would be no need for agents to act as a mediator if that mediator was a centralised governing body.

At a time when money’s stranglehold of our sport is ever increasing so is the power that agents are able to wield over clubs and footballers. How many players have been persuaded to move from their clubs as a result of their agents? How many footballers’ dream moves have never materialised as a result of their agents’ financial demands?

Sir Alex Ferguson admitted to having cancelled transfers as a result of the demands of the agents. There is a fine line between having the best interests of your client at heart and simply trying to extort as much money out of a club as possible. The vast majority of agents in today’s world have crossed that line.

To rid our sport of agents would also, you would hope, encourage a culture whereby footballers are taught to think for themselves. The commercialisation of football has taken so much from the game that it is important that the players themselves are still able to analyse and appreciate their moral responsibilities and act accordingly.

In theory, if UEFA regulate the transfer market there will also be less of a possibility for corruption. The allegations made by the BBC towards a number of Premier League managers, coaches and agents could be a thing of the past. There would be no opportunity for corruption to go unnoticed if UEFA had an active role in every transfer.

It’s not just bungs that are the issue either. Anybody who read or watched the recent reports on the trafficking of young African footballers to Europe will understand that a more intensive focus is needed on the transfer market, especially when players have come from deprived areas where they may be manipulated and abused.

There are, however, downsides to implementing an initiative like this. The first is that, just because we allocate the responsibility to UEFA it wouldn’t necessarily mean that corruption could not take place. After the revelations of the last two years associated with FIFA, trust for football’s governing bodies are at an all time low whilst having UEFA regulate transfers could stamp out elements of lower level corruption it is far from guaranteed.

The main issue for UEFA would be the sheer scale of the task. Would it actually be possible to closely monitor every single transfer made throughout Europe? And, even if they could do it, would it be painfully inefficient. On the whole, centralised governing bodies are always slower to act than local, devolved governing bodies. Were this pattern to be mirrored in football it could spell the end of last minute deadline day signings and transfers of this nature. Sometimes it is essential for transfers to be conducted quickly and it would appear unlikely that such transfers would ever be possible.

Lastly, while it’s important to remember that some agents do serve some sort of purpose in some cases, it is obvious that UEFA should attempt to create some extra regulating bodies to monitor the transfer market in Europe. The power of certain incredibly rich clubs is becoming dangerous, as is the influence that agents hold over their players. What those necessary next steps are, however, is up to Platini.

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  • paul
    2 years ago

    impossible as it would deny players the representation of their choice!. FFP will also fail as a restraint of trade

    Reply
  • HeavyRiffs
    2 years ago

    Foolish idea.

    Reply
  • ColinSC
    2 years ago

    Apart from that UEFA and FIFA are corrupt from the top down.

    Reply
  • Melon Man
    2 years ago

    ” The power of certain incredibly rich clubs is becoming dangerous”

    Why? Please expand giving real life examples.

    I suppose all those billions of pounds of inward investment is a bad thing for the football industry in this double dip recession?

    Maybe, just maybe, what is more dangerous to the health of football is dodgy owners asset stripping and milking their football clubs for their own financial gain, which means money leaving football.

    Reply
  • Jeffers
    2 years ago

    Good Article – it never ceases to amaze me the sheer brain-dead people that crop up in the comments that havent a clue what they are talking about. Why couldn’t it happen given that what football associations say, the rest of football will follow as they are tied into lucrative sponsorships. As for all this legal rubbish – football is one of the only sports that allows this freedom, therefore why don’t other sports get pulled up for freedom of trade. Grow up and embrace the fact that football needs to change instead of being stuck in your own little bubbles.

    Reply
    • Melon Man
      2 years ago

      So we’re all brain dead and live in our own little bubbles eh?

      Your arrogance is astonishing.

      Given that the “real world” we live in is a capitalist one, freedom of trade and personal rights to work are entrenched in our laws, so how come you disregard this as a logical reason to refute this article?
      Do you go around running red lights and driving on the wrong side of the road, or do you respect the laws of the land?
      Same with business laws, they cannot be ignored.
      Structurally, agents play a very pivotal role in negotiations between interested parties, and advise players who have no experience of the murky world of sports contracts, sponsorships, how to behave professionally etc.. Without these agents, certain players would be ripped off, in the same way rock and pop bands can be taken to the cleaners by record companies etc..
      The analogy between the music industry and football is a good one – both sets of workers earn fantastic amounts of money in usually a short period of their working life, and both are “entertainers” to millions of fans worldwide.
      Agents provide a neccessary service which most footballers, if asked, would positively affirm are worth their cut.
      Boxers on the whole are another group of stars who need the skills of a good agent, so they can concentrate on doing what they do best, without getting bogged down in trivia and contracts etc..
      Good agents will prosper, bad ones will fail – that’s the free market way. If football clubs don’t want to deal with them, then nobody is holding a gun to their heads, but of course clubs do use them when it suits them, and increasingly managers themselves employ the services of agents, as believe it or not, they can do a worthwhile job.
      If you think what I have written is the ramblings of a cabbage, I think you need to take a long hard look in the mirror and ask yourself why you are the only person taking this particular stance, and of course the student who wrote this article.

      Reply
  • Steve
    2 years ago

    I think it’s a good idea to reduce the power agents have. Look at Anelka for example, was at arsenal and appeared happy. His agent then organised a move away. This means the agent gets a fee based on the transfer fee. I say make it that all players are represented by their parent club. If a player wants someone else to negotiate on his behalf then the player should pay for it. That way agents only get paid when a player wants to move themselves or when a club want to sell.

    Reply
    • Melon Man
      2 years ago

      Nice try but your theory is so full of holes it’s unbelievable Jeff!
      What happens if an agent approaches a player and offers him a massive sum of money if he asks for a transfer, based on his negotiating skills, and the willingness of a club to poach this star? Clubs would actively look for agents to do this very thing!
      Players already do pay for an agents services.
      The example of Anelka is poor, he wanted to move to the biggest club in the world, Real Madrid, the fact his brother was his agent is surely a good thing for him, as his own brother is unlikely to want to rip him off is he?
      Agents offer many services during the term of a player’s contract with a club, not just the negotiating of transfers, such as sponsorship deals with boot manufacturers, shaving product companies, that sort of thing. They also offer legal advice and general lifestyle advice, PR, Marketing, the list is extensive.
      Players, clubs and Managers all use agents, despite the media witch-hunts, willingly. Clubs often scapegoat agents when they fail to deliver new signings, or they lose a player to another club – it appeases some of the less clued up fans.
      If agents had no value, they would not be used or paid handsomely – it’s as simple as that.

      Reply
  • Archimedes
    2 years ago

    Poorly argued article. The causes of corruption and poor club finances are separate and is not due to the agents because they are only messengers. Transfer regulations do not address neither root causes. You have to start by governing FIFA, which answers to no one. Most clubs are losing money because some deep pocketed owners are buying success beyond what the clubs can afford by outbidding for available players. We have yet to see if financial fair play will work.

    Reply

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