The FA has recently issued a revised version of its FA Regulations on Working with Intermediaries for the 2017/18 season and the changes are effective immediately. A number of the additions are important and intermediaries should make sure they are aware of the new position to avoid falling foul of the Regulations.
Perhaps the most important change is that an Intermediary will not be allowed to enter into a representation contract with a player who is already under an exclusive representation contract with another intermediary (Regulation B12). The same obligation is also imposed on a player, who must not enter into a representation contract with an intermediary whilst under an exclusive representation contract with another intermediary (Regulation B13).
The position previously was that the FA would, theoretically, allow a number of exclusive representation contracts in favour of different intermediaries to be registered regardless of whether an exclusive representation agreement was already in place. This resulted in a situation where a player may have two or three intermediaries with exclusive agreements in place. Those intermediaries would be entitled to commission regardless of whether it was him/her who acted for the player in respect of any new contract/transfer (as they were contracted on an exclusive basis). The inevitable result was that disputes would follow when Intermediaries with exclusive contracts were not involved in deals but not paid commission. The changes to the Regulations takes us back to the position we were in previously – a player can only have one intermediary when they have entered in to an exclusive contract. This should prevent any further disputes and, more importantly, will discourage intermediaries from trying to poach players from other intermediaries simply by lodging a representation contract.
In addition, intermediaries will only be able to enter in to a single representation contract with a player at any one time (Regulation B11). Of course, representation contracts cannot last for longer than two years, but the previous Regulations allowed intermediaries to lodge new agreements whenever a player would sign one. Therefore, an intermediary could in theory have lodged a fresh representation contract every, say, six months, meaning the player would always have at least 18 months left on any agreement. That overreaches the intention of a maximum two year agreement. The Regulations now prevent this sort of practice. The intermediary will not now be able to lodge a new representation contract until the existing agreement has expired.