Footballers increasingly falling victim to dodgy agents
Many footballers in the Netherlands are falling victim to dodgy agents, NOS reports. Victims told the broadcaster about facing intimidation, threats, and fraud, paying hundreds to thousands of euros in advance to meet with a club, only to hear nothing further from the club. Or getting into a club, only to be left in terrible conditions and unable to leave.
Agents in football ensure that players come to clubs’ attention and help negotiate the contracts in return for a commission. The association of contract players VVCS confirmed that shady agents increasingly approach players. “It mainly happens to a vulnerable group of players,” chairman Evgeniy Levchenko told NOS. “Agents know who has an expiring contract and know exactly how much someone earns. High amounts are promised that cannot be fulfilled.”
In 2016, the Dutch football association KNVB warned about shady agents and called on players and parents to come forward if they were approached. The association told NOS that it hadn’t received a single report since then.
According to the VVCS, that is because people feel embarrassed when they fall for a scam. The players’ association receives about 30 reports of shady agents per year. “Come out. Only when you make it discussable can you solve things, and others will not end up in such a situation.”
The VVCS advocates for more information and for players to think before they act. “Very often, you are asked to transfer money in advance for tickets, for example. You should never actually do that. If the club wants you, they will pay for your ticket.”
In 2015, FIFA abolished its mandatory agent license because it proved difficult to enforce. This year, the football organization is returning the licensing obligation. Agents must now pass an exam to practice. In April, 3,800 people took that exam, with just over half passing. The others can retake the exam. If they fail again, they have to stop practicing as a football agent from October.
The international football association FIFPRO advocates for a standard agreement in all countries. “If something goes wrong, the basic conditions have been agreed, and we or the national union can take action to help,” Roy Vermeer of FIFPRO told NOS. “This is already the case in the Netherlands, but there are quite a few countries where the craziest things can be written into the contract.”