Agents including Mendes and Raiola vow to fight FIFA transfer reforms

Jorge Mendes Mino Raiola
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World football's governing body has proposed cutting fees owed to the representatives of players and clubs involved in transfers

High-profile agents such as Jorge Mendes and Mino Raiola are among a group who are set to fight reforms from FIFA, which is proposing to cap agents' fees.

Mendes, who represents the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho, and Raiola, who boasts Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic among his clients, were among 200 of the world's biggest football agents in attendance as the Association of Football Agents (AFA) met in north London.

FIFA is proposing that the agents of a player involved in any transfer and the agent of the buying club would only earn a maximum of three per cent of the total transfer fee - a figure that falls below the current standard.

World football's governing body also believes that the agent of the selling club should receive a maximum of 10% of the fee.

The reforms, which were announced in September, have caused outrage within the UK-based agents' trade association, which insists it is in favour of increased transparency, checks and regulation, but not a cap on earnings.

"FIFA say a lot of things and mostly they are not correct," Jonathan Barnett, who represents Gareth Bale among others, told reporters after Wednesday's AFA meeting.

"I think what we want to do is to sit down with them with a blank piece of paper and come up with a proper solution that satisfies everybody.

"I don’t think it has ever been done before. Most of the world’s top agents are in one room together and 100% of them agree on a course of action and it is lovely.

"We want fairness. We do a very good job and we act for players.

"We don’t act for FIFA and FIFA should recognise us and treat us in a proper manner. The truth is FIFA don’t know exactly what an agent does. I am supposedly one of the biggest agents in the world and I know they have never been to my office. They have never had a conversation with me.

"It is something I think that they think can get them votes and get the public on their side. I think it is rubbish. If you ask players what they want, they are in favour of agents and there are never complaints about agents' fees from players.

"It is just ludicrous what FIFA are saying. No, no [they are yet to talk to us]. That will hopefully come. We will still write letters to them and hopefully be talking to them and we are waiting for their reply.

"Hopefully they will come to their senses but if not we will be waiting in the courts. I have nothing else to do in the next few weeks."

AFA Life President, Mel Stein, headed up the group working in England that hosted the meeting and clarified his organisation's position, saying: "All the leading agents in Europe and their respective bodies met today. We have agreed for the first time a united policy in respect of FIFA’s proposals.

"We will be writing to them jointly to advise them that once there is a formal, consultative process in place where all parties can bring their proposals to the table, we will be eager to meet with them. This is a first for us.

"As far as we are concerned, it sends a clean and positive, we think, message to FIFA on where we are on this."

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In a statement, FIFA decried the current system, calling it the "law of the jungle" while saying their reform proposals "were the result of an extensive consultation process with stakeholders (players, clubs, leagues and member associations), as well as agents who were invited to several consultation meetings."

"FIFA, as football’s governing body, has the responsibility to address and regulate these matters," the governing body said. "We are aiming for a system of balanced and reasonable regulation, instead of the law of the jungle currently in place, with conflicts of interests rife and exorbitant 'commissions' being earned left and right. 

"In the last year alone, football agents earned $653.9 million in fees, four times more than in 2015."

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