English Clubs Spend Nearly a Quarter of Agency Funds in International Transfers

A report from FIFA reveals that English football teams contributed to almost a third of the total amount of $888 million (£702 million) spent on agent fees in international transfers in 2023.

This figure represents a 43% increase from the $623 million (£493 million) spent in 2022, surpassing the previous record of $655 million (£518 million) in 2019.

English clubs emerged as the biggest spenders this year, with a total expenditure of $280 million (£221 million).

For the first time, over $1 million (£790,000) was spent on agent fees in women’s football.

The Football Agents in International Transfers report states that there were a record-breaking 3,353 international deals this year.

The report excludes domestic transfers, such as Declan Rice’s £100 million move from West Ham to Arsenal or Moises Caicedo’s transfer from Brighton to Chelsea worth £100 million.

Harry Kane departed Tottenham for Bayern Munich for £86 million, and Jude Bellingham joined Real Madrid from Borussia Dortmund for £89 million.

The report indicates that European clubs contributed 87% of the total agent spending in 2023.

Saudi Pro League clubs spent $86 million (£68 million), with players like Karim Benzema, Sadio Mane, and Riyad Mahrez among those involved in the transfers.

South Korea had the largest share of outgoing transfers, with agents involved in selling clubs in the K League making up 32% of the total spending.

Women’s football clubs spent almost $1.4 million (£1.1 million) in a record 125 transfers.

Legal Dispute over Agent Fee Limits

The English Football Association (FA) has published details of an arbitration tribunal that ruled its plans to implement new regulations to cap agent fees would violate UK competition law.

Although the FA had intended to introduce these rules, closely resembling new FIFA regulations at the international level, in October, a legal challenge was made by four player agencies, leading to arbitration proceedings.

The FA has indicated a postponement in implementing the cap to facilitate further discussions with the agencies. The tribunal report states that the FA reserves the right to make a final decision on the plans if no agreement can be reached.z z z z z z z z z z z z

FIFA later stated that it had “already scheduled a meeting with the Football Agent Working Group to discuss the outcome of these proceedings, among other topics, and will communicate the next steps in due course.”

The world governing body’s rules also faced challenges, with a district court in Dortmund, Germany, issuing an injunction preventing certain aspects of the new regulations, including the cap, from being applied to any deal where any party – such as an agent, club, player, or coach – had a link to the German market.

In the summer, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) indicated its support for the FIFA regulations, stating that capping agent service fees was “appropriate” to combat the “negative effects” of agent services.