Recommendations for Proposed FIFA Regulations of Football Agents
Earlier this year, FIFA adopted a reforms package on players agents’ regulations. The regulations, despite being primarily designed “to protect the integrity of football and prevent abuses,” provide an excellent steppingstone for the international community to build a robust regulatory system to mitigate and prevent human trafficking in football.
The complete reform package is a product of an extensive consultation process with many relevant stakeholders, and includes the six following measures:
- Establishment of a cap on commissions to avoid excessive and abusive practices;
- Limitation of multiple representation to avoid conflicts of interest;
- Reintroduction of a mandatory licensing system for agents to raise professional standards;
- Creation of a FIFA Clearing House to guarantee better financial transparency;
- Establishment of an effective FIFA dispute resolution system to address disputes between agents, players and clubs;
- Disclosing and publishing all agent-related work in transfers, to increase transparency, improve the credibility of the transfer system and support the implementation of new regulations.
Mission 89 welcomes the new regulations as they aim to improve the professional standards of agents and protect the wellbeing and rights of the minors involved in football. These regulations are not specifically designed to prevent the trafficking of children in and through football, rather they attempt to bolster the transparency of transactions and prevent fraud and money laundering in football. However, it is through the reintroduction of the mandatory agents’ licensing system that these measures also provide a useful tool for holding agents accountable for potential abuse of minors in their care. This not only speaks to the issue trafficking in football but also provides the international community an important opportunity to propose complimentary measures to expand protections for the youth.
To this end, Mission 89 believes that the following complimentary educational and technological measures could potentially create an even more robust regulatory system that addresses and tackles child trafficking in football:
- Establishment of a mechanism that also hold clubs accountable for transactions involving agents and minors to ensure that all parties prioritise the interest and safety of the child;
- An Evidence-based Special Safeguarding and Child Protection Education for Clubs, Players and Parents on how to deal with agents;
- Include modules in FIFA’s new regulation of football agents’ 2020 curriculum to educate coaches and technical staff about safeguarding and child protection issues, and to certify their training;
- Establishment of accountability mechanism that make agents and clubs more accountable for players aged 18 years and/or under, who fail their trials at clubs;
- Granting better access to information for professional and amateur players with the use of easily accessible technology (apps or websites);
- Organise and/or support promotional activities during large events that inform on human trafficking and the risk of exploitation by fake agents at grassroots/recreational level; and
- Development of a harmonized FIFA dual-career program that empowers players (amateur and professional) with capacities that will serve them beyond the Game, thereby minimising the opportunity for exploitation.