New rules for agents?

The Premier League are pushing for a series of strict new rules to prevent clubs paying agents in an attempt to end the gravy train of money leaving football.

 

Clubs want to put an end to the system of dual representation which sees an agent charge the clubs and players for brokering a transfer on their client's behalf.

 

Bosses are now insisting only players should have to pay agents under a range of new measures aimed at cutting down the power and influence intermediaries now wield on the game.

If successful, it will dramatically change the way the majority of transfers are structured, and lead to players having to foot an increasing bill both to their representatives and to the tax man. 

 

The move comes at a time when HM Revenue and Customs are looking closely at the way dual representation deals are structured because it means less tax is paid on a deal. 

 

In basic terms, when an agent works on behalf of the buying club and the player, it means the client has less to pay his representative and a far smaller tax liability.

 

The HMRC are looking closely into the arrangements, believing the way deals are structured currently could be used as a cover to avoid bigger payments to the public purse.

 

They are looking to put in place an ability to demand to see evidence of what work the agent has done for both sides, to check the money being paid is correctly charged.

 

Last year Premier League clubs forked out £211million in agent fees - and across the 541 transactions registered at least 426 involved dual representation.

 

At least one deal saw triple representation - where the agent acts on behalf of the buying club, selling club and the player.

 

That was the situation two years ago when Manchester United paid £98m to sign Paul Pogba from Juventus and agent Mino Raiola received £41m for his work.

 

League bosses also want to insist on players paying fees to agents over the course of their contracts, rather than as a lump sum as soon as any deal is completed.

 

That is aimed at preventing rogue representatives looking at earning another pay day by agitating for their players to make a move a year or two into their contracts.

 

The Premier League today are hoping to ratify a series of new measures, including demanding all agents working in England to have passed an exam.

 

They want any agent working with English-based players to hold a UK bank account, with all transactions with clubs in this country using that facility.

 

And they are also demanding the business arrangements of agents to be more transparent - with the need to provide a financial statement yearly to the FA.

 

The league are not able to go it alone with their stance, however. They would need the FA on side in order to incorporate the regulations into their rulebooks.

 

FIFA also have their own regulations, although it is believed England would be free to have their own rules so long as they broadly fit into the wider framework of the international game.

 

An FA spokeswoman said: “The FA is talking to both the Premier League and Fifa and that will determine our future direction of travel.”