FIFA: Agents increase cut of transfer deals
Football agents got a lot richer last year.
Agents took a bigger cut from international player transfers in
2012, even as trading in the billion-dollar market fell by $290
million, according to FIFA research published Tuesday.
Player representatives took $163 million in fees from clubs, at
28 percent average commission, as their total take from
cross-border transfers rose $33 million last year.
”2012 witnessed a greater involvement of intermediaries,” FIFA
subsidiary Transfer Matching System (TMS) stated in an annual
survey which logged deals worth $2.53 billion.
Clubs in 200 countries must use the online platform to detail
all their payments when players move between different countries
either for a fee, on loan or when out of contract.
English clubs spent the most, with FIFA processing $59 million
in fees to agents in international deals.
Italian clubs paid $41 million and Russian clubs $23 million,
and agents also banked payments from players which FIFA’s system
”Obviously, money going to an intermediary is leaving
football,” TMS general manager Mark Goddard said in a conference
FIFA’s insight into how much agents earn from clubs follows
after football’s governing body revealed in January it was
preparing to help teams cut out middle men and deal directly with
An online system called Global Player Exchange is being
developed to help clubs share information about players available
Asked if the latest survey showed how agents drove up clubs’
transfer expenses, Goddard replied: ”I am happy we can give the
data so that clubs can start asking questions themselves.”
In 2012, player representatives were paid commissions from 706
international transfers, a 19 percent increase year-on-year.
Agents’ income soared despite FIFA logging a 10 percent drop in
total value of international transfers. In 2011, the market was
worth $2.82 billion.
Goddard declined to speculate if the global financial downturn
was responsible for a drop in spending when the total number of
completed international transfers, 11,552, rose by 1 percent last
year. Seven out of every 10 transfers involved free-agent
English clubs, boosted by lucrative television deals, were net
spenders of $314 million, and Russian clubs, backed by wealthy
owners and sponsors, collectively spent $256 million more on
international transfers than they received.
Countries where the European economic crisis hit hardest were
net earners from FIFA-monitored transfer deals, including Portugal
($103 million), Italy ($91 million) and Spain ($50 million).
Brazil earned the most, with clubs collectively receiving $121
million more than they spent, as 1,463 transfers processed by TMS
involved Brazilian players. United States players accounted for 174
completed cross-border deals.
Still, players of all nationalities moving to Brazil were
collecting an average salary of $80,000, and just $40,000 in
Italian clubs were playing an average salary of $720,000 to a
player signed from elsewhere and English clubs paid an average of
An intermediary was involved on behalf of a club or player in a
total of 2,199 deals, 19 percent of all international
FIFA does not yet monitor transfers between two clubs from the
same association, such as Manchester United’s reported 24 million
pounds ($37 million) purchase of Robin van Persie from Arsenal last
Goddard said TMS, which became mandatory since 2010 to improve
transparency in club finances, could expand in future to process