Football Agent Education – October 2018 – a month of tips!

 In News

Throughout the month of October, we’ll be posting a new tip everyday to help you on your journey to becoming a football agent!

1. Becoming a ‘Registered Agent’

In order to be a football agent, you have to be fully licensed within the country (or countries) that you are working in. Each country’s FA (Football Association) has different rules on how to be registered, however there are many that are very similar and in general the process for becoming a licensed agent is simple. For example, in England, you need to pay a £500 joining fee (and an annual £250 renewal fee) and confirm you have no criminal record or are employed in any capacity within an English club. Exceptions to this straightforward system can be found in France (where you have to pass a written exam) and Spain (where you have to take an interview). To find out more information about your country’s rules and regulations, simply visit the relevant football association website.

2. Approaching the industry

The agency business is notoriously hard to get into. However, there is no set way to becoming a football agent and there are many routes into the profession. Often, agents have experience in many different industries, for example a legal or financial background, teaching, coaching, marketing and more! To try and get into the football world, it is common to apply for internships or work experience at large agencies or companies involved in sport. Alternatively, you can apply for jobs at these same firms, or even make one yourself if you already have a client. When getting started, it is important to use your network wisely, and this means reaching out to a contact in the industry if you have one, who can help get you underway. Use your strengths and knowledge to your advantage to try and work your way towards the football business world.

3. Understanding football

Having a good knowledge of players, clubs and leagues is a very important aspect of the profession. Understanding which type of player goes to what type of club is often overlooked as a skill, as agents must always think ahead. Monitoring the performances of certain players and clubs can be helpful, as well as keeping an eye on the appointment of backroom staff and club officials. There are some free and helpful tools to keep yourself updated on the latest in football that include Transfermarkt, ESPN and sports newspapers and magazines, whilst paid services like Wyscout are also extremely useful.

4. Networking

Your network is your net-worth. Networking in the football business is vital. The bigger and better your network then more likely you are to succeed in the industry. There are many ways to do this, through sporting events such as Soccerex and Wyscout forums, and just generally trying to be proactive. You have to utilise your contacts well, and find out what you can offer too – business often centers around exchanging favours and working together. Use your knowledge of the football industry to identify gaps in the market, players without agents or players needing new clubs, and then try to work your way into a position where you can make a difference.

5. Scouting

A good way to go about getting your first client is by scouting youth and lower league fixtures. Whilst you must always be wary of the rules and regulations surrounding youth players, often the first player you represent will be young and eager to work their way to the top divisions. Going to as many games as possible (and seeing a variety of teams) shows your desire to make your mark in the industry. Also, matches are a great networking opportunity. Not only can you meet the relatives of the player, but other agents, scouts and club officials from a variety of teams will also be present. You should always remain patient and professional, taking your time to research in order to make good decisions. For example, stopping in order to speak with a member of a player’s family at the game is a great idea – as the relationship with the family is integral. Remember, if you want to work with youth players, there are certain rules and regulations you have to follow. For example, in England, you must not engage in any contact with a player regarding ‘intermediary activity’ before January 1st of the year which the player will celebrate their sixteenth birthday, and any contract with a minor must have a parent or legal guardian signing off. To find out more information about your country’s rules and regulations, simply visit the relevant football association website.

6. Who do you work for?

A key distinction between agents is whether you work as part of a big agency or are more independent, and there are advantages to both. By working for a large agency, you have the benefit of great resources, a vast network and often good player-recruitment power. Furthermore, as an employee, there would be certain employment privileges that you would be entitled to and have the security of a job. However, if you have a strong relationship with a client, you may wish not to join an agency. Here, you would have much more freedom to manage the player in various ways. For example, you could make commercial and sponsorship deals independently and also look after a client’s business interests without the involvement of others. Whilst it would potentially result in more work, it does mean agent fee’s would not have to split and you could agree ‘off-pitch’ commission from marketing deals more freely. Nevertheless, your decision shouldn’t be motivated by money. At the end of the day, you have to do what is best for your player(s), and this is the sign of a good agent.

7. International football community:

Football is a global game, and consequently the agency sphere reflects this. As part of your job, you’ll have to travel all around the world and interact with people from lots of different types of backgrounds. Whilst this isn’t a full requirement, many top football agents have the ability to speak more than one language. Knowing a second language gives you a better opportunity to do business in the country (or countries) that your secondary language is spoken in. Furthermore, before traveling to any other country on business, you should try and research the key customs and be respectful of the traditions of that culture. For example, in Japan you must always give and receive business cards using both hands and ensure the card is turned towards the receiver. Not following this protocol is seen as rude and disrespectful. In general, travelling is a fundamental part of being a football agent, and you have to be prepared to spend time away from your home. But at the same time, this is an aspect of what makes the profession so enjoyable and interesting – you get the chance to travel all across the world and interact with such a variety of people.

8. Qualities of a football agent:

All football agents have their own style, and their own way of doing things. However, there are certain characteristics that many share, and that aspiring agents should try and portray. Amongst the most important traits are loyalty and trust. In order for a client to allow you to negotiate deals on their behalf, they have to trust you and believe that you’ll do what is best for them, and not act selfishly. Some agents (when negotiating contracts with clubs) ask what their commission is first. Good agents do not do this, instead good agents get the best deal possible for the player and then work out the commission. You always have to work out of the best interests for your player, as you are the one representing them. Especially when dealing with younger players, this includes getting the trust and respect of their parents, who are essentially allowing you to work so closely alongside their child. In addition, football agents have to be hard-working and willing to sacrifice. No agent ever has it easy from the start, and you have to work as hard as possible in order to be successful in this tough industry. Make the most out of every meeting, every contact and every day – if you do so, then that will only put you on the right path. Be sure to create the next opportunity for your client, and don’t just wait around for somebody to approach you! At the end of the day, the best agents are the ones managing everything for their player – from contracts to sponsorships, you should be the one making things happen. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t let others in however, as utilising your network and experts in different fields is a key skill too.

9. Working with a player’s family and friends:

Often, those who are close to the player are the people who can influence them the most, and therefore working with them is pivotal. Of course, this may be a legal obligation with the parents of a youth player, but even a famous footballer will always take advice from their close ones. In fact, many parents start off as the agent of their child, as they want to protect them from the bad reputation of agents. You must always be considerate to the idea that your client is somebody’s child, sibling or best friend. It is also often the case, that an agent will work alongside a family member of a player in an joint-agent role, and this can be an effective way to operate. Similarly, the influence of a spouse or partner is another aspect of the job that you have to take into consideration, as the ‘opposite half’ of a footballer plays a crucial decision-making role. For example, the career of a player’s partner may impact the likelihood of a transfer to another city or country, and often if a couple have young children, this can too make moving more difficult. Therefore, it is pivotal that you, as the agent, recognise the personal needs of your client but at the same time make sure that they are fully aware that they have to make the most of their career whilst there is the possibility to do so.

10. Transfer Windows:

Often thought of as the busiest time for a football agent, transfer windows can provide you with the opportunity to make a deal! Obviously, it is important to know the dates of the transfer windows (which vary by country), however the work that goes into making a transfer happen starts long before the deal takes place. It is rare that any deal (even if it is completed towards the end of the window) hasn’t been the subject of talks between the agent of the player and representatives of the club for weeks, if not months. Therefore, it is crucial for you to be constantly monitoring the needs of clubs in case a player you represent (or have a mandate for) fits the requirements as you see them. This research could be as easy as looking up when key players are ‘out of contract’ or simply knowing what teams are lacking position-wise. Transfer windows can often be the pinnacle of the work that you have been putting in all year round – but remember, do not rush or be forced into any deal, and always keep in close contact with clients in order to know what they want. 

To find all the dates for transfer windows across the world, make sure you visit the FIFA website. 

11. Loans:

Perhaps more relevant with a client who is either young or on the fringes of the first team, loan deals can be truly advantageous if conducted correctly. Such deals are so popular that some clubs (like Chelsea) have their own loan department where people are employed just to look after the loaned players and visit them during the season in order to check their development. A loan can very in length and just depends on what the two clubs agree on, however, they are normally for the duration of the season (or for the second half of a season). It is very common for the ‘parent club’ to ask for either a contribution of the wages of the player, or for a sum of money for the duration of the loan time. As already mentioned, from the perspective of an agent, loans can be of use. If your client is given more playing time at another club, it could showcase their potential worth for the ‘parent club’ in the future, or increase their transfer value if you are looking for a permanent move elsewhere. One thing to be wary of however are work permits. Especially with English clubs, work permits can often be difficult to receive (more on this to come another day), and you must always take it into consideration. For example, Arsenal’s Takuma Asano had to be loaned out when he first arrived due to work permit issues. In general, make sure that you know the status of your client, and consult a lawyer on this matter if needed.

12. Permanent deals

The most common method of transfer is a permanent deal. This occurs when two clubs agree a fee for a player, which is then subject to the passing of a medical and finalizing of a contract. Every step of this process requires the agent to be involved, whilst acting on behalf of your client’s interests at all times. Essentially, your strategy ultimately depends on whether or not your player wants to leave that club that they are currently contracted to, or if they want to sell. If your client has asked for a move, then it becomes your provocative to speak with the club hierarchy and start holding ‘discussions’ with potentially interested parties. Persuasion and negotiation become pivotal skills here, as you have to convince all sides that the decisions they are making are beneficial. If you find yourself representing a player who wishes to stay at their present club, yet other teams have come to you declaring their interest, you should still pass on these sentiments to your client. It could be the case that what they offer becomes tempting for both your player, and the club that they play for. If there is some uncertainty over whether a loan or permanent deal is best, than an ‘option to buy’ could be the way forward. This involves a club agreeing to loan a player for a certain amount of time, with an agreement also being in place for a full transfer. This strategy is becoming more common for clubs as they can test the player out, without having the obligation of a permanent deal. Recent examples of this can be found with top European players, such as James Rodríguez (Real Madrid & Bayern Munich) and Douglas Costa (Bayern Munich & Juventus). Sometimes whether or not the full transfer takes place is down to appearance and performance based clauses that were initially agreed – these would have been made clear, and it is for you as the agent to be involved in the deal making process. This method of transfer has also been adapted in recent transfer windows too. The agreement between Monaco and Paris-Saint Germain for Kylian Mbappé has been labeled as an ‘obligation to buy’ rather than an ‘option to buy’, with the latter club supposedly required to follow through with the deal after the loan period has come to an end. Either way, an agent must be aware about the possible use of both methods.

13. Free Agents:

Given the huge rise in transfer fees across the game, free agents are becoming more appealing for clubs to sign. A free agent is essentially when a player is ‘out of contract’, and is therefore allowed to transfer to another club without any transfer fee being paid. This method is not only appealing for prospective clubs, but for agents and players too, as you can negotiate larger wages and signing-on fees due to a lack of transfer payment. This way of transfer originated from the landmark court case in 1995, resulting in the ‘Bosman ruling’. This meant that players could move to a new club without their previous team receiving a fee. Players could now sign a ‘pre-contract’ with another team if their contract had less than six months remaining. Some notable recent examples include Emre Can (Liverpool —> Juventus), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (PSG —> Manchester United) and Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund —> Bayern Munich). Whilst this situation is certainly beneficial, the fact that most contracts nowadays are signed on a five-year basis means that waiting for a client to be a free agent is a lengthy process that could retract from making the most out of a player’s career. Nevertheless, this strategy remains popular amongst agents, and can be an extremely effective move if done correctly.

14. Mandates:

An important differentiation to make when discussing transfers is whether you are the the full agent of a player, or just have a mandate for a transfer. Whilst a typical agent takes care of the majority of a client’s affairs, there is also the possibility to just have a mandate for a transfer. Depending on what exactly was agreed, a mandate means that you would handle just the player’s transfer for a certain period of time (normally one transfer window) to a certain league or country that you have good connections within. Consequently, you would try hard to complete a transfer whilst getting a negotiated fee from the transaction, without becoming their full-time agent. This difference between acting with mandates or being a regular agent is fairly common in football. If an agent has a well-known client who requires much time, then they could sign a mandate for the transfer of another player just to provide themselves with another source of income, whilst not committing long-term. However, this isn’t the only reason why the mandate could be pursued. An up-and-coming agent and player may agree on a mandate for a transfer as a trial period for future representation, as it is a sometimes thought of as a test of the ability of an agent.

15. Work Permits (England)

When a player moves to a different country to play professional football, they must have a work permit, just like any other job. In England, the ‘Home Office’ issues work permits, after receiving an endorsement from the FA. A club must be able to show that the non-EU/EEA player is established at the highest level of international football or will make a big contribution to football in the UK. Automatic work permit qualification (through the demonstration of international experience) is done on a basis of senior international matches played over a two year period. For more details, swipe right to see the next page! If your client does not meet this criteria, than they must be granted a work permit through the FA’s Exceptions Panel. This Panel is made up of three people, and decisions are made using a points based system on a majority vote with two rounds of criteria. Criteria A reviews information regarding the transfer fee and wages. It compares the proposed deal with all the other deals that took place in the previous season – and in turn tries to make sure that the player fairly qualifies to receive a work permit. Criteria B is more concerned about the player’s playing time at their previous club, assessing how many of the available matches they actually played in. 

Overall, the panel is under no obligation to grant a work permit if they don’t feel satisfied, so making sure your client fulfils as many of the points within the two rounds of criteria is important. Of course, this system is currently only relevant for players coming from outside the European Union or EEA, so this is likely to change in the coming months. For more information about the system in England, and elsewhere, simply visit the relevant football association website.

16. Representation Contract:

In order to legitimately represent a player, there has to be a valid Representation Contract between you and your client, as well as, of course, being registered as an intermediary. This agreement is an extremely important part of the entire process. In England, this contract is valid for up to two years until it needs to be renewed, but this isn’t the same in every country. In German for example, exclusive representation contracts are against the law, despite many agents still using them due to their clients not being aware. Remember, as an agent the most important traits include honesty and transparency, and crooked agents always get found out. The Representation Contract is normally agreed alongside with the agent’s fee (a certain percentage of the player’s salary as agreed by the Employment Contract), and includes a portion of the signing-on fee whilst usually excluding other bonuses like goals or appearances. The recognised norm that an agent receives is up to 10% of a client’s gross salary per year. It is important to note that if the Employment Contract (between player and club) is due to end after the Representation Contract, the intermediary is still entitled to their agreed percentage.

17. Employment Contract:

The contractual relationship between a player and a club is encapsulated in the Employment Contract. This is something that is agreed when the player joins a club (after a transfer), and can be renewed and re-negotiated at a later date. The Employment Contract would normally cover a series of different aspects between the two parties – for example, it may include a signing-on bonus as well as appearance or goal bonuses. Here, it would be for the agent of the player to negotiate on their client’s behalf, in order to secure the best possible deal. It is very common for much a player’s income to actually come from these bonuses and not only from their standard wage. For contracts with Premier League players, personal terms are set out in ‘Schedule 2’ of the standard contract – so everything from the basic wage to bonuses to compensation is agreed in this part. Under the Representation Contract (explained yesterday), the agent of a player is entitled to their commission and this closely linked with the Employment Contract. Often, it is thought that players are the ones who pay their agent, but it is the club who do this, as clubs pay the agent the negotiated percentage on top of the wages they pay the player. As always, it is crucial for the intermediary to be aware of the rules set out by FIFA and the relevant footballing association regarding contracts, making sure that all the criteria have been followed and adhered to.

18. Image Rights Agreement:

Given the increased commercialisation of sport (especially football), the Image Rights Agreement has become a pivotal part of contract negotiations between club and player. If your client is well-known (or has the potential to be a household name) then this part of the contract becomes even more significant. The Image Rights Agreement ensures that the player receives a percentage of the money that the club gain after using their image commercially. Consequently, it would be for the agent to help form a company that would specifically be used to give permission for the rights of a player’s image. Again, much like with the Employment Contract, the intermediary would have to check up on the specific rules and regulations regarding the Agreement for the relevant club and association. In some cases, the club will have sold their own image rights to a third party company. Consequently, if a player from this team was to sign a sponsorship agreement, it would be wise (as their agent) to negotiate a deal based on material gifts (and a small fee) rather than a larger cash sum. This would ensure that both you and your client could receive the upmost from the situation.

19. Boot deals:

Continuing on from the Image Rights Agreement, sponsorships have become such a crucial part of an agent’s work. In particular, you should try and find your client a sponsorship with a sports company for apparel and boots. Unlike the strict regulations that come with an Employment Contract, these type of sponsorship deals give the agent more freedom, as there is no maximum percentage cap on the commission. Furthermore, if your player and their club share a common sponsor, it is more likely that your client would become an important part of the advertising campaigns, and this can therefore strengthen your negotiating position when discussing the Image Rights Agreement. However, even if your client’s club has a kit sponsor (for example Nike), the player is still allowed to have an endorsement from another brand (like Adidas) to wear their boots and also clothing whilst ‘off the pitch’. Although the big brands are often appealing, sometimes trying to make a deal not with a ‘giant’ means your client may be able to become more of a stand-out ambassador for that company.

20. Endorsements:

Whilst many think that an agent’s work is restricted to football, the best agents will be trying to make deals on behalf of their client off the pitch. Although these type of endorsement deals are not specifically linked to football, they are, of course, only possible due to a player’s ability to reach a huge audience as a result of the global nature of football. Consequently, sponsorship deals with a range of brands and companies is to be expected. Such deals are normally brought about by the company directly contacting a player’s agent, or by the agent being proactive and therefore consciously using their contacts to find potential sponsors. There are however things to keep in mind when trying to organise such endorsements. Firstly, you cannot make a deal with company that is in the same field of work as a primary sponsor of your client’s club. For example, if your player’s team has Emirates Airlines as a principal sponsor, the player would not be able to have a partnership with another airline competitor. In addition, you always have to be wary of the brands that your client partners with. If they have a bad reputation, then this would only reflect badly on your player, and you have to take this into consideration. As long as you are aware of what partnering with a certain company means (i.e. the regions that they appeal to, the other brands that you now can’t partner with, etc.) than these deals can be really beneficial. Much like endorsements from sporting brands for boots and clothing, these deals do not have a cap on commission for the agent, thus meaning that they can be really important and lucrative for the intermediary. Whilst this is the case, not all deals are solely financial – often, deals with car or watch companies may just be free merchandise and social media promotion. Another thing to consider is that some players do chose to sell their image rights to media agencies like CAA or MediaCom for a guaranteed fee plus a split of commission, and this can be an effective way of doing marketing.

21. Matchdays:

One of the most important parts of each week are matchdays, occurring on the weekends and often mid-week too. Depending on the exact nature of your relationship with the player, motivational conversations before the game can be greatly beneficial, and given the importance of your client’s performance in aiding your job, every little to help them has to be done. Regarding the logistics of the matchday, most players normally have an allocation of two tickets, although it is becoming more and more common for players to have access to a box. This would normally come in the form of their own suite, as evidenced at Manchester City, where the Colin Bell Stand is home to ten squad member boxes including Raheem Sterling, John Stones and club captain Vincent Kompany. However, these private areas can also be shared between players. In either case, as the agent, it would be your responsibility to organise the guests. Whilst some family members of the player will request access to the tickets, it is crucial to find the balance between them, and business guests. Allocating the tickets between friends, family, commercial partners, potential partners and other agents in the business is key. To help with this, you should always keep in mind that it is your job and you are in the business side of football; so try to treat these matchdays as potential gateways to further deals. Even though matches are 90 minutes, for the agents the matchday is the whole day. You have to meet with guests and get to the stadium a couple of hours before kick-off, and stay with them after the game too – these are great times to talk business. As previously mentioned, games can be twice a week for you’re client, and as an agent you will probably also be invited to other player’s boxes who have an agent that you’re close with, and also sometimes the director’s box – so make sure you’re committed to long hours! 

22. Working with managers:

Much like football players, managers need professional representation too. Besides the negotiated commission, there are numerous benefits as a result of being the agent of a football manager. If you represent the manager, it gives you the opportunity to utilise this important figure at the club in order to make transfers for others that you may be the agent of. This practice is one frequently resorted to by lots of agents. By doing this, you will always have a link to the club where the manager is at, even when they leave. Furthermore, this advantage is closely coupled with the fact that the manager (if you are their agent) can easily introduce you to other key employees at the club, which can strengthen your position if you already manage a player there. For example, if through the manager you can improve your relations with other important decision makers, it is more likely that your player (or future players) would be treated favourably. Again, it is all about expanding your network, and getting introduced to other managers or club officials is certainly a good thing.

23. Sporting directors:

The key advice to remember when working with a sporting director (or any club official besides the manager) is to try and get into their mind and way of thinking, and this is where your understanding of football, as well as keeping up to date with all news and transfers is crucial. Using all the resources that you have, you have to try and predict what the sporting director needs for their club in terms of players. If, for example, the team have sold their starting striker or their striker gets injured, it could be clever for you to get a mandate for a striker’s transfer and try to sell them to that club. Additionally, there is another way in which an agent can work with a sporting director or a senior club official. Whilst getting a mandate for a player’s transfer is common, getting a mandate from the club to conduct their transfer policy is becoming more frequent in the sport. The club would authorise you to contact potential players on their behalf, whilst you would receive an agreed commission for your services. Although such relationships can be known to the public, such agreements between an agent and sporting director are often kept secret so that the club doesn’t have to bind themselves to the recommendations of a single intermediary. Whilst more and more English club are appointing sporting directors, this hasn’t always been the case. In the past (and still today with some clubs), the manager is the one with the power in regards to transfer strategy, and often there is a specialist contact negotiator instead of a generic sporting director for the necessary situations.

24. Social media:

In today’s society where social media plays a crucial role and is widely used, it has become vital that a footballer has a good social media presence on the key sites. It is crucial to have popular social media pages as it allows the player to increase their global reach and in turn be able to better negotiate potential sponsorship deals. It is common for either the agent to help control the social media of the player, or (for perhaps more famous clients) organize a digital agency to help take care of the accounts and posts. In both situations, it is important that the messages given to fans are positive (for example posting a picture of the player working hard at training or in the gym) and also conform to contractual agreements with the club and sponsors. For example, a company may sponsor the player to wear their sportswear, and the contract states that there is to be a minimum of five posts with that brand in a month. Therefore, it is of great significance that the social media accounts are well organised and dealt with. You should also try to make your client have a presence in other countries’ social media channels too. For example, Weibo (China) has twice as many users than Twitter – so this can be a very valuable tool to have. Whilst social media is great, is can also be very dangerous if not taken seriously or carefully. You have to make sure that your client avoids discussing injuries or tactics that can help an opponent, or post any ‘sensitive’ material that may cause serious offence.  

25. Journalists:

Knowing which journalists to trust is something which all agents find difficult at some point, and is a part of the profession that you pick up as you go along! As an agent, you will always get calls asking about the future of your clients, with many journalists phrasing the questions in a clever and manipulative way. Therefore, you always have to be cautious, as any mistake could be costly. However, this doesn’t mean that you should not pursue any relations with journalists, as they can be greatly useful and effective in strengthening your stance as an agent representing a client. In-depth interviews with journalists can allow the public to see who the players actually are (off the pitch), and allow a certain level of access that sometimes social media doesn’t showcase.

26. Charity:

As an agent, it is important to make sure any client is aware of the need to give back to the community, both local and global. Of course, it would be simple for most players to give a donation to any charitable organisation, but it should be thought that their association with the charity (through adverts or campaigns) is also greatly valuable as it can bring worldwide awareness. Furthermore, depending on the ‘size’ of a client, it could be advantageous to form their own foundation. Obviously, the agent would play a key role in setting up the organisation and be crucial in the administrative and/or legal aspects of its formation. Often, if a player has a foundation then a family member will run it, as the areas and people it hopes to help are personal and of great importance. However, even if you don’t establish a foundation, any charity work is good charity work. Also, often a player will have to fulfil charitable duties on behalf on their club, as the majority of teams have their own foundations, as well perhaps help with UEFA and FIFA’s charity efforts. Working alongside charities is something that all players should be doing – whether it be volunteering, giving away signed memorabilia, visiting hospitals or inviting unwell children to games, the significance of charity cannot be understated.

27. Business ventures:

At the pinnacle of the player’s career, it may become possible that potential personal business ventures would be a success. Such a decision is becoming more and more popular amongst top footballers, with many having their own clothing brand, or even chain of hotels! As the agent, you have to make sure that you are helping the development of the business at all the necessary stages, and would normally have to work closely alongside a player’s family member, as they are normally involved in these projects too. Using the network that you have created in the business, you should be making sure the venture is as successful as possible, and using legal and financial advisors to ensure the project is effective. In return for you work, the agent could receive shares in the company or just take an agree percentage of revenue. Good agents would make sure all personal business ventures are advertised on their client’s social media in order to maximise exposure of the brand. Whilst this is common, players can still be involved in business without necessarily starting their own. Frequently, players invest (sometimes with other players) into both small and large companies. Both methods are crucial in ensuring your client can have solid streams of income post-retirement. One prominent example of business ventures by footballers is Mathieu Flamini, who whilst still playing founded the successful ’GFBiochemicals’, a company at the forefront of its field. 

28. Wealth management:

It is becoming increasingly common for agents to do more than just transfers and contracts. As discussed yesterday, agents nowadays take on a more involved and business-orientated role in their client’s lives, and this can often expand to advising on their player’s wealth and assets. For example, with regards to assets, having a property is something that players need to take into consideration. When a player moves to a club that forces them to change house location, it is often the case that they start by renting a property. This would normally be an area which you, as the agent, is needed to sort out and make sure that your client is quickly settled in order to better on-pitch performances. When your player is in a position to buy a property, it is crucial to be aware of the situation that you find yourself in. If your client is perhaps only on a short-term contract or looking likely to be transferred, it may be better to just rent. On the other hand, if it seems that your client will stay put for a reasonable period of time, it would be beneficial to start searching for a permanent home, which would also act as an investment for the longer-term. Beyond property, you have to make sure that your client isn’t spending beyond their means, as you should have an eye to the future when their playing career is over. Taking the advice of a financial advisor is normally a good way to make sure you have everything under control. They can help with all issues regarding tax and any financial matter that you need further clarity on. Finding an advisor who is knowledgeable about helping manage the wealth of professional athlete (or celebrity) is important, and if you don’t know one, you can always ask an agent of one of your client’s teammates. 

29. History of football agency:

When, where and how did football agents come into existence? Despite there being strict regulations regarding transfers, and therefore agents, the desire from European clubs to become better, coupled with increasing political co-operation post-World War II started to enable the growth of prominent intermediaries. The first of this new breed of well-known agents was Gigi Peronace, who specialised in transfers between the English and Italian leagues. He played a key role in many ground-breaking deals at the time, including John Charles (Leeds United to Juventus), Jimmy Greaves (Chelsea to A.C. Milan) and Denis Law (Manchester City to Torino), earning him notability and success. Years later, agents started to understand the commercial opportunities that their clients could receive with their fame. After his transfer to Hamburg in 1977, Keegan and his representatives signed football’s first ‘face deal’. This contract, nowadays known as an Image Rights Agreement, enabled him to become one of the most instantly recognizable celebrities by promoting any product that came his way. Consequently, Keegan quickly became a valuable asset for any agent, and set the precedent for future deals and proceedings. This all culminated in the formal recognition of agents by FIFA in 1994. FIFA implemented the first set of rules and regulations regarding football agents, which in turn made football agency a formal profession. This meant that football federations across the world now had guidelines about how to become a licensed agent, thus heralding the beginning of the modern intermediary, whose role and power greatly increased within the sport. 

30. What else do agents do?

It is well-known for agents to negotiate transfers and contracts, and to try and find sponsors for their clients. But what else does the day-to-day work of an agent include? The answer is various different tasks, as you often have to sort out smaller (but still important) matters. For example, everyday things that are taken for granted still have to be organised in advance. When you client is moving club, they’ll obviously need a place to live (as discussed two days ago), but also a car too. Issues like insurance and servicing frequently fall under the realm of the work of an agent. As previously mentioned, tasks like these may not seem significant, but if they matter to your client then they should matter to you! Booking holidays (including sometimes visa applications), helping with family members of the player when they come to visit, and making sure that your client turns up to club commitments and sponsors’ events on time – these are all crucial. The same principle ties all these different tasks together – doing all of what you can for your client and being there whenever you’re needed.

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