Agents and intermediaries
This chapter analyses the industry of football players’ agents and intermediaries. First of all, we briefly illustrate the evolution of these professionals in function of professionalisation of the football labour and transfer market and the plurality of roles played by them within the football industry. The transition of football agents from a social norm lacking any official status, to a coveted, legally recognised, profession central to the operation of global football markets can be charted through four periods mirroring the development of the game commercially and in parallel, the liberalisation of the labour and transfer markets (Magee, 2002; Gouget and Primault, 2006). The second part of the chapter also introduces and analyses the new FIFA’s Regulations on Working with Intermediaries (RWI), which came into force on April 1, 2015. Then, we discuss the impact of “Third Party Entitlement” (TPE) and its ban from FIFA within the intermediation industry and how dominant agencies have been strategically active within a transfer more and more globalised with the openness of the Chinese football market. Finally, we addresses the market dominance acquired by few super agents and intermediaries who operate globally, empirically supported by a brief statistical overlook on how the players’ market in terms of market share and market power is highly concentrated.