One way of keeping money ‘in the family’ for footballers has been to take on parents, siblings and loved ones as their agent – ensuring they take a cut of any transfer fees paid.
But that practice will be ended by FIFA in a new set of regulations regarding agent payments – meaning that mega-money deals like Erling Haaland’s switch to Manchester City, which will net his dad Alf Inge a cool $30 million (£25.5 million), will be governed differently.
The governing body will prohibit any individual that isn’t a licensed agent from ‘participating’ in a transfer deal, and therefore only they will be entitled to earn commission on deals involving their clients. Family members without an official licence will be barred from taking payments.
That will help to line the pockets of agents yet further, but will prevent players from hoarding money by using loved ones as their go-between in any transfer dealings.
Alf Inge Haaland isn’t the only family member to benefit financially from the talents of their children/relatives. Neymar’s move from Barcelona to PSG in 2017 was powered by his father, according to those in the know, and he banked a cool £23 million for his part in the negotiations – more than Barca paid Lionel Messi throughout his playing career at the Nou Camp.
Ironically, Messi’s old man Jorge is also his agent. After several rounds of contract negotiations when the Argentine star was playing for Barcelona, and following his big money move to PSG, it has been reported that Jorge has banked a cool £75 million for his troubles – including around £2 million per season having taken his 3% commission on his son’s annual salary.
The 10% Club
Even if a family member manages to qualify for their agent’s licence, they will still see a major reduction in the amount of money they can make due to FIFA’s new rules.
Originally set to come into force in the summer of 2023, it’s believed that FIFA is trying to accelerate the implementation of the new laws in time for the next transfer window.
The new rules will include a 10% ceiling that the agent can earn on transfer fees involving their players, as well as a maximum of 3% on their annual earnings.
That caused uproar amongst the most lucrative agents, with Jorge Mendes and Mino Raiola – who would have benefitted financially from Haaland’s move to Man City but for his death earlier this year – threatening to take FIFA to court.
And Dr Erkan Sogut, who represents Mesut Ozil amongst other players, claims FIFA wants to create a ‘monopoly’ amongst agents – and that the cut in yield will force many representatives out of the business.
“FIFA want to give agents just 3%, which is ridiculous,” he said.
“Most of the deals I do are with other agents and we share it. I end up with 1.5%, I need to pay tax on that – 30% at least – so I end up with 1% in the end.
“You can’t survive with that. It’s impossible.”
A 1% cut on Ozil’s £14 million per season salary at Arsenal would have netted Sogut £140,000 a year after tax….