By Tosin Akinyemi
This article was written because I saw a particular error in a football contract for the umpteenth time, which I have noticed is common with privately-owned clubs and Academies.
I hope this will help football stakeholders, going forward.
It is common knowledge that most clubs and academies in Nigeria (especially privately-owned), are set up for the transfer of players to foreign clubs, more than for sporting successes.
This means that a lot of the club owners are willing to invest in club equipments, AS WELL AS cover the expenses of the travelling of a player who is to go abroad for a trial, or even sign a football contract.
This huge amount of investments, usually makes such clubs/the owners want to tie the player down to a contract, so that they can get a maximum return on investment.
While it is a good thing to have a binding football contract with the player, it is wrong to:
- Include Intermediary/Agency services in THAT SAME football Contract, or
- Even though you have a separate football contract, and a separate Intermediary/Agency agreement, both contracts are signed by the same person(s). person(s) who is/are official(s) of that club.
The reason is that “officials” are not allowed to provide agency/intermediary services, pursuant to FIFA Regulations. As such, you may end up losing an investment while trying to protect it.
Now, let’s look at the particular provisions of FIFA Regulations:
Who is an “official”?
Definition No 13 of FIFA Statutes 2019 provides thus:
“Official: any board member (including the members of the Council), committee member, referee and assistant referee, coach, trainer and any other person responsible for technical, medical and administrative matters in FIFA, a confederation, a member association, a league or a club as well as all other persons obliged to comply with the FIFA Statutes (except players and intermediaries).”
It can be seen from the definition above that officials include board members, committee members….or any other person responsible for technical, medical or administrative matters in a CLUB.
Meanwhile, who is an Intermediary?
The definition section of the Regulations on Working With Intermediaries (2015), defines an Intermediary as:
“A natural or legal person who, for a fee or free of charge, represents players and/or clubs in negotiations with a view to concluding an employment contract or represents clubs in negotiations with a view to concluding a transfer agreement.
NB: Terms referring to natural persons are applicable to both genders as well as to legal persons. Any term in the singular applies to the plural and vice-versa.”
From observation, some of such supposed football contracts often show that the the club/owner covenants to provide Intermediary services for a player under the club, and make a stake to future earnings of the player.
Having seen who is an “official” and who is an “Intermediary” as defined by FIFA Regulations, which provision of FIFA Regulations prohibits an official from performing Intermediary services?
See Article 2, Paragraph 4 of the Regulations On Working With Intermediaries (2015), which provides thus:
“The engagement of Officials, as defined in point 11 of the Definitions section of the FIFA Statutes, as intermediaries by players and clubs is prohibited.”
In my own view, the rationale behind this prohibition is to avoid circumstances of conflict of interests.
A football contract of a club that is in breach of such prohibition may end up being set aside, just as a Representation Contract executed by an “official”.
It is wise to avoid loopholes!