KEIR RADNEDGE in BUDAPEST: FIFA president Gianni Infantino has rejected criticism from football agents of the world federation’s plan to reimpose controls on their activities.
Infantino was speaking, in Budapest, at the annual congress of the international sports writers’ association AIPS.
Last autumn a working group proposed limited agents of a selling club to a maximum 10pc of the fee plus caps of three percent of the player’s fee. Leading agents such as Mino Raiola and Jonathan Barnett have warned of retaliatory legal action.
Infantino said: “Today the transfer system generates $7.5bn alone for international transfers around the world virtually no regulation.
“Every time any police or fiscal authority looks at a transfer of a player they may find something and but maybe also feel they have more important things to do so we have to take our responsibilities seriously.”
Infantino conceded that FIFA had once sought to impose controls on agents but eventually scrapped the system and admitted defeat because it had proved ineffective.
That had created a financial void which was “bad for the image of football.”
Infantino added: “We created a working group to study this. One part of the agents tells us we have to regulate and another part tells us it’s a free market. The European Union defends a free market on one hand but is also recommending we do something.
“We want to create a clearing house for the money so the commission of the agent has to be paid through FIFA so we know where it is going. We want transparency for agents’ payments and also for youth and training club compensation which is important.
“We will stop agents representing several parties in the same transaction. This is the basic example of conflict of interest. How can you represent a player and a club? You have to choose: either the player or the club.”
All this will mean the reintroduction of a licensing system because the transfer market was a $10bn business which demanded those involved should be answerable.
Infantino said: “If you want to sell a house you need some qualifications. The same for football. The cousin or mother or father cannot be the agent any longer unless they have the qualifications.
“Finally we want to cap commission rates at 3pc or q10pc or whatever. In other professions there are scales and caps and rates.”