The increasing involvement of football agents (intermediaries) in club affairs in football extends far beyond that of negotiating a playing contract on behalf of a player, it now involves a complicated interrelationship between clubs and agents. With multiple agents involved in a transfer, agents representing either buying or selling club, multiple agents representing one party or agents representing more than one party in a transaction; this complex interaction often leads to disputes that should be resolved as quickly as possible.
It cannot be underestimated the importance of agents maintaining good working relationships with clubs – it may affect their ability to do business involving a club and also limit opportunities for player clients. Likewise, an ongoing dispute or damaged relationship between a club or agent may limit the clubs ability in being able to attract players who are clients of a certain agent, or even result in an agent deliberately impeding a clubs recruitment effort.
As such, an ongoing dispute between a club and an agent can be hugely damaging for both parties, not only in the short term but also the long term; as well as the cost and lengthy process that a football dispute procedure may be subject to.
Mediation provides the disputants a means to resolution and thus not have any unnecessary disruptions to their affairs. In addition to this a mutual agreement to a dispute rather than a judgement/award may enhance an ongoing working and mutually beneficial relationship between both club and agent.
Sentinel are able to assist with the application of Mediation to a broad range of football related disputes. We have specific specialist knowledge and experience in matters relating to disputes that involve football agents (intermediary) and those matters related to football agent activity.
In January 2023 FIFA announced the reintroduction of the agents license along with new regulations governing agent and agent related activity, and whilst this should be seen as a positive sign we believe it may trigger another surge in disputes relating to agents and football agent activity. This is seemingly reinforced by the fact that FIFA have announced the introduction of an ‘Agent Chamber’ as part of FIFA’s Football Tribunal (disciplinary and dispute resolution) to solely deal with agent disputes of an international dimension.
Sentinel mediators are all recognised and qualified through the CMC (Civil Mediation Council) and/or the IMI (International Mediation Institute). This ensures mediators undertake CPD, follow established standards and employ a recognised complaints procedure.
In addition to this, Sentinel mediators have past experience in a variety of practical roles within football whether it be as club officials, agents, players or as officers of football related associations and bodies.
Given the nature of football in terms of its competitive (both on the pitch and off it) and increasingly lucrative nature; the grounds for disputes have grown as has the sport (and the industry).
Whilst disputes in football have grown in number, value and complexity; the means for resolving such disputes have arguably failed to develop in capacity at the same pace.
Through mediation, Sentinel are able to offer football participants a cost-effective, quick, impartial and confidential means to resolve their football disputes. In addition to this there is no winner and loser in mediation, we like to think of it as a ‘mutually beneficial draw in the group, stages allowing both teams to be content with a place in the next round’.