The FA Regulations on Working with Intermediaries makes it clear that in order for any intermediary to enter in to a representation contract to represent a minor an intermediary must have been authorised by the FA to work with minors (Appendix II – Paragraph 3).
An intermediary can only approach a minor from 1 January onwards in the year in which the player turns 16. Any approach before this time is a breach of the Regulations.
In reality, this means that an Intermediary must obtain the specific football intermediary enhanced criminal record check and upload it via IMS. The guidance as to how such a records check is obtained can be found on the FA’s website. Intermediaries should note that a records check will only be considered by the FA if it was issued within the previous three months.
However, the important issue for any intermediary that uploading a criminal records check on IMS does not mean that authorisation is immediately provided, even if the check is clean. The request for authorisation still needs to be granted by the player status team and the FA’s safeguarding team. Once they have done so, IMS will be updated to show that an intermediary is approved for working with minors.
Unless and until the IMS is updated confirming that an Intermediary is approved for working with minors, they are not approved for doing so. That means the intermediary cannot and should not approach a minor with a view to entering in to a representation contract or seek to lodge a representation contract with the FA. An intermediary can only do this after the FA have confirmed authorisation.
To do so would be a breach of the FA Regulations and, as an indication of how seriously the FA are taking the issue of contacts with minors, the list of suspended Intermediaries released by the FA on 1 August 2017 contains 20 intermediaries who are currently suspended. Of those, 17 of those suspensions relate to breaches of the Regulations relating to minors. This consists of six intermediaries who approached a player before the 1 January of the year in which they turn 16 (and therefore they were too young when approached) and 11 intermediaries who tried to enter in to representation agreements with minors before being authorised to do so. The period of suspension will depend on the facts of each case but current suspensions issued range from 28 days to one year in respect of all football related activity (not simply those activities which involve minors).