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The slave of the club is now that of the broker

Used to be football players chained to their club, often to a dodgy football agent. Should the transfer system on the shovel?

The slave of the club is now that of the broker

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Herman Van leuven luc van wassenhoven, former manager of Anderlecht, and real estate Mogi Bayat. The close ties between some clubs and the brokers are for discussion. photo news

Used to be football players chained to their club, often to a dodgy football agent. Should the transfer system on the shovel?

The slave of the club is now that of the broker

Nico Tanghe

BrusselAls an unmistakable warning. So sounded this week by the response from Vincent Kompany on picking up topmakelaars Mogi Bayat and Dejan Veljkovic, during operation ‘Clean Hands’. “If you’re talking about the football sector then you can’t be surprised. The link is very closely tied with the practices of the world of human trafficking, drug trafficking and prostitution. There are a lot of good people, but also many bad.’

As if in comparison with a quarter of a century ago, nothing has changed. Prior to 1995 was a football player, even though walked out of his contract at the end of it, not freely to another club to step up without the agreement of his club and the payment of the required transfer fee. ‘Human trafficking’, were critics even then. ‘Footballers that are the property of their club and are not free to choose where they work? That can not be?’

Thanks to the famous Bosman ruling in 1995, the previous transfer system abolished, belongs to that kind of practices to the past. But the underlying issue is anything but resolved. ‘That’s right’, says Marjan Olfers, professor of sport and law at the University of Amsterdam. “The football clubs responded by spelerscontracten to extend, or by players to force a new contract before the old is expired. So little has changed – the buying and selling of people is just going by. Only there are a lot of players today now also in the grip of some very seedy players ‘ agents.’

Conflict of interest

‘Let players to simply employ a solicitor to get a contract to negotiate, with a predetermined seek compensation for the club’

Marjan Olfers

Professor of sport and law at the Free University of Amsterdam

‘Exaggerated’, says football agent Stijn Francis. ‘In Flanders, for example, would not have a single player in principle, a slave may be a real estate agent. Anyone can unilaterally and free of charge of the contract with the broker to terminate, try some brokers to get around this’, argues he. “There is possibly a problem with the transfer system. Brokers benefit from a player as often as possible club changes (how often the player of team changes, the more often the broker along the checkout pass, ed.).’

What has not changed: players still have not the free choice for which club they want to go play. As for the Bosman judgment. Because their broker has all the benefit in order for them to be transferred to the club that made him as an intermediary pays the most. In addition, there is a high risk of a conflict of interest. The broker will receive not only a commission on the transfer fee. He gets with every transfer, even a percentage on the salary the player – the so-called vertegenwoordigingsvergoeding (often 10 percent) – which, surprisingly enough paid by the club and not the player. No wonder that some brokers living from deal to deal and have little or no for their players. They want to especially on a good paper stand at the richest clubs.

‘A conflict of interest? Our office is always trying to the extent possible, the interests of the player to defend. Other brokers make advance, however, to be clear: I do not work for the player, I don’t work for the club, I only work for myself. That is perhaps a little ethical, but the question is whether this is also illegal. I don’t know. In itself, I don’t have a problem with a player aware of such a broker to choose. Where I have problems with them, are those brokers out there advance not honest and clear about communication and give the impression that the interests of the player to serve, while this turns out not to be, ” says Francis.

Marjan Olfers thinks differently. “The current transfer system provides perverse incentives. Brokers who are aware of abuse of the naivety of the players, for example. Approach them and they are often at a very young age and build a bond with their parents. Others recruit mainly in Africa and make young football players are aware financially dependent by, for example, their travel expenses to Europe to shoot.’

Blackmail or puffery?

But not only in front of their players abuse some brokers their dominant position, even against some clubs. In the corridors of the Belgian football does the story round that Bayat like public boasted that he and he alone has the degradatiestrijd decided. Other brokers with a lot of players at one and the same club, would sometimes trainer and board blackmail with a strike or feigned injury to one or more players.

“Yes, that’s what I read also however, to what extent is that a boast?’, continues Francis, gently. “If I, as a club would be afgedreigd, I would immediately go to the court steps and lodge a complaint. Under more Roland Duchatêlet at Standard refused that game to play and was almost champion. That seems to me a proof that the power of the brokers, however, still relatively limited.’

Francis suspects, however, that there are agents who sometimes exploit weaknesses. ‘But they are both in the clubs as the players. That the players are against it should be protected, I understand. But the clubs? When I read that some clubs in the past, said that you with one particular broker must come (Mogi Bayat, ed.) or there are no affairs to do, they should, in retrospect, of course, not surprised.’

Olfers is on the same line. ‘Not only do the agents share in the extreme transferwinsten. Some clubs do good. Here in the Netherlands, went into hiding after a transfer also for the clubs sometimes invoices on which you think: the place that agree?. Additionally, some of the clubs today in the hands of very scary owners. Also that makes you think.’

Stricter rules

It is therefore not surprising that Fifa is working on stricter rules for brokers (DS 12 October), for example, by limiting the commissions for transfers. ‘Used to be able to agents maximum commission of 7 percent, but because this clashed with the EU law is that rule abolished’, responds Francis thereon. ‘The number of players in the portfolio limit? That seems to me to be an unlawful restriction of competition.’

But according to Olfers, we now have already too long delayed. ‘Commissions are to limit? That does not work. People find there are always loopholes for. Get the transfer system just. Just as the players ‘ agents. Let players from now on, simply employ a solicitor to get a contract to negotiate, with a predetermined seek compensation for the club. Then we are rid of that crazy amounts. No lawyer will provide 300,000 euros questions. And since the football players who is a lawyer have to pay them yourself, they will be smarter and better informed.’

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