London – The Association of Football Agents has said that “the global move to deregulation has not worked” and has “allowed the system to be more open to manipulation and abuse” amid the fallout from Sam Allardyce’s resignation. In a statement issued on Wednesday it also stressed the need for tighter regulation of its industry, featuring input from Uefa and Fifa.
The board of the body that represents more than 300 agents gathered in London and expressed a willingness to bring greater light to bear on financial transactions in football.
The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday cited undercover interviews with agents in which they claimed to have given bungs to Premier League and Championship managers to help seal transfer deals.
In a statement, the AFA said: “We recognise that while recent reports involving possible misconduct in relation to player transfers remain unproven, they do raise important questions and serve to highlight the need for greater transparency and a new regulatory framework in this area of the football industry.
“We are totally committed to helping any investigation in the various allegations,” the AFA continued, “and to continue to work with the relevant football authorities, led by the FA, to further explore what steps can be taken in English football to put in place an effective system of licensing and code of conduct for agents.”
The AFA called for a system that is “enforceable globally” and criticised the deregulation of agent licensing and conduct by Fifa in April of last year.
It gathered ostensibly to welcome a new chairman, the former chief executive of the International Rugby Board Mike Miller, to replace Mel Stein. It is understood that Miller sees it as part of his responsibilities to lift some of the shadows that have hung over football agents and to aim not only for greater accountability for the industry but transparency too.
Quite how far such transparency will go remains to be seen however, with commercial sensitivities making it unlikley that full disclosure of the fees involved in transfer deals will occur.