Research Handbooks in International Law series
Edited by James A.R. Nafziger and Stephen F. Ross
Roberto Branco Martins and Richard Parrish INTRODUCTION This chapter focuses on the regulation of players’ agents in professional football given that the sector has the highest incidence of agent activity and that developments in football drives change in other sports. It begins with a brief overview of why agents play such a prominent role in world football. It then discusses the role of the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) in regulating agent activity and explains why agent regulation may be necessary despite criticisms of the regulatory model employed by FIFA. The chapter then considers the role the European Football Agents Association can play in shaping the regulatory environment. Three recent developments are then explored: FIFA’s re-evaluation of its 2008 regulations, the conclusions of the 2009 European Commission Agent Study and developments in the European professional football social dialogue committee. Finally, the chapter reviews alternative models for regulating agents. THE RISE OF AGENTS In the English case of Walker v. Crystal Palace Football Club , Farewell J. applied a new ‘control test’ as a common law means of distinguishing an employee subject to the control of the employer from a self-employed contractor who is not.1 Whilst this control was principally exercised by subjugating the football player to the training regime of the club, in a wider context a maximum wage and transfer system was devised which formed part of a wider control mechanism of management over players.2 Originating in 1891, the so-called retain and transfer system sanctioned a restrictive practice...
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