FIFA panel agrees planned limits on agent fees, loan deals

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A FIFA panel has agreed limits on fees that agents can take from the $7 billion annual soccer transfer market, and caps on the number of player loan deals that clubs can make.

Seeking some control over the global trade in players often described as a “Wild West,” FIFA said its stakeholders committee of soccer industry experts recommended key principles on Wednesday.

The panel, which includes delegates from FIFA, clubs, leagues and player unions, agreed that agents are set to earn a maximum 10 percent cut of transfer fees when acting for the selling club.

Juventus reportedly gave almost 26 percent - 27 million euros ($29.6 million) - to agent Mino Raiola from the 105 million euros ($115 million) Manchester United agreed to pay as a then-world record fee for Paul Pogba in 2016.

Raiola also was paid millions more by Pogba and United.

“All agents’ commissions (are) to be paid via the FIFA Clearing House,” soccer’s world body said in a statement, citing the payment processing center it is currently creating.

Player’s agents are expected to legally challenge rules which would cap their fee at 3 percent of a player’s income, or 6 percent when they are also acting for the buying club. Agents would be prohibited from representing both the buying and selling clubs in a transfer.

FIFA’s ruling council is scheduled to approve the proposals in China next month, with rules to be drafted and take effect next year and in 2021.

Agents also face mandatory licensing by FIFA, which aims for stricter and faster enforcement when rules are broken.

A range of punishments would include fines, suspensions from work, and transfer bans.

In the spiraling loan market, FIFA aims to enforce limits for the 2021-22 season - eight players moving in and eight players going out in temporary deals - on clubs that stockpile talent.

The limit would not count players aged 21 and under seeking playing time to speed their development.

The limit should become seven players loaned in and out for the next season, and settle at six in each direction when the 2023-24 season starts.

FIFA previously announced plans to create a financial clearing house that will also process around $400 million annually to ensure a player’s previous clubs get rightful shares of transfer fees.