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  • Writer's pictureEspen Auberg

What does a football agent do?

Updated: Oct 17, 2022


A football agent can have several roles which typically lead to a footballer either completing a transfer to a new club or signing a professional contract with his existing club. In the case of a transfer, at least two agreements will normally have to be concluded: One transfer agreement between the selling club and the buying club, and one employment agreement between the player and the buying club. A football agent will be able to represent the player, the buying club or the selling club in these processes.

The player's agent

The most common is for a football agent to represent the player. While in the past it was relatively common for the player himself to negotiate and sign contracts with clubs, today it is rare that players at the top level are not represented by a football agent. In such a role, it will be the task of the football agent to look after the player's interests, i.a. by ensuring, in dialogue with the player's club, that the player has the optimal conditions for success and is developed through a good training and match regime. Furthermore, it is the football agent's task to ensure that the player has salary terms that reflect the player's level and value to the club. Especially in contract negotiations, the football agent plays an important role, as the player will normally have little or no experience with such negotiations, while the club will normally let experienced managers take care of the negotiations, managers who regularly participate in such negotiations. In such a situation, the football agent will help to even out the playing field between club and player and ensure that the player fully understands the content of the contract he enters into.

Furthermore, the football agent, in consultation with the player, will have an important role when the player wants to change clubs, by connecting the player with clubs that may be interested in a transfer, and in this regards act as a link between the player, the new club and the player’s current club.

The buying club's agent

A football agent can also represent clubs. For clubs that want to buy players, a football agent can have a role either in connection with the transfer of a specific player, or as an ongoing agreement, where the football agent, preferably in collaboration with football scouts, works to carry out transfers for players who fit the club's profile. In order to start negotiations with a player, it is important that the buying club has first clarified with the player's club that they are given permission to contact the player, and a football agent will have an important role in this process. Another key role for a football agent working for a buying club is to negotiate with selling clubs or football agents representing selling clubs for the lowest possible transfer fee.

The transfer fee will depend on many factors, of which the player's sporting level, age and remaining contract length are the most important. If the contract has expired or is about to expire, the player can normally be signed without a transfer fee being paid, although it is important for clubs signing young players to be aware that a transfer may trigger a claim for training compensation. Whether a transfer will trigger a claim for training compensation will depend on several factors, and a football agent will be able to clarify this, and possibly facilitate agreements with clubs that are entitled to training compensation that they waive their rights.

The selling club's agent

Also for selling clubs, a football agent will be able to play a role. For many clubs, the development and sale of players is an important part of a long-term strategy, where sales revenue makes up a large part of the club's total revenue. Top football agents are highly skilled negotiators and have impressive networks in the world of football, They will therefore often be able to achieve a higher sales price by targeting specific clubs, than if the selling club itself should try to sell the player on the open market.

The content of a transfer agreement

When a football agent assists clubs in connection with a transfer, the transfer fee will be central. It is rare that a transfer sum is paid as one lump sum. It is more common for the transfer fee to be divided into installments and for parts of the transfer sum to be linked to specific conditions, e.g. that an additional amount must be paid if the buying club is promoted or wins titles or that the player plays a certain number of matches. It is also common for a sell-on-clause to be agreed, whereby the selling club is entitled to a share of the future transfer fee if the player is sold on.

The content of a player's contract

A player’s contract will normally be based on a standard contract drawn up by the national football association, and contains, among other things, provisions on contract length and termination. Central to a player's contract are wages and other financial benefits. In addition to a fixed salary, it is common for player contracts to contain various bonuses and additional benefits, both linked to the player's individual circumstances and to the club's achievements. Individual bonuses and additional benefits can be sign-on fees, which are often paid in fixed installments once or twice a year, as well as bonuses for a certain number of games played, goals scored and assists. Loyalty bonuses are also common, which are paid out after the player has been at the club for a certain time. In addition to individual bonuses, team bonuses are common, where the player receives a share of a team bonus for the club's achievements, e.g. linked to position in the table at the end of the season or participation in UEFA competitions.

For the best and most high-profile players, in addition to the ordinary employment contract, it may be appropriate to enter into an agreement that regulates the player's image rights. Image rights in football are, in short, the right to any commercial use of e.g. the player's name, nickname, picture, and likeness. At the start of a footballer's career, the image rights are owned exclusively by the player himself, that is, the player's image rights cannot be exploited by anyone without the player's consent. When the player signs a contract with a club, the club will normally obtain certain image rights from the player, where the player gives his consent for the club to use the player's image rights as part of the club's marketing strategy. If the player is selected to play for the national team, the national football association will normally also receive certain image rights. Image rights, which were originally exclusively the player's, will then be shared between the player, the club and the national football association.

In most countries it is rather common to have buyout clauses, where the club is obliged to approve a transfer if a club is offered an amount specified in the contract between club and player. In Norway, such buy-out clauses will be in breach of the regulations of the Norwegian Football Association.

The football agent's fee

When a transfer is carried out or a player contract is signed, and there is a representation agreement either between the player and the football agent or between one of the clubs and the football agent, the football agent will be entitled to a fee as regulated in the representation contract. Usually the fee is calculated as a percentage of the contractual value, typically between five and ten percent. Is the football agent engaged by the player and that e.g. if a three-year contract is entered into between club and player where the player receives an annual salary of EUR 500,000, the total contract value will be EUR 1.5 million. If it has been agreed that the agent shall have an agency fee corresponding to five percent of the contract value, this fee will be EUR 1.5 million X 5% = EUR 75,000. Although in principle it is the player who is obliged to pay the agent, it is very common for the club to accept to pay the agent's fee.

If the football agent is engaged by the buying or selling club, the fee will normally be calculated as a percentage of the transfer fee.

Northern Stars is a football agency based in Norway. If you have any questions or are interested in being represented by Northern Stars, please do not hesitate to contact us.


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