For the year 2014-15, the premier league clubs have spent a staggering 115 million pounds on agent fees alone. Football finance is one incredibly convoluted field of study. It takes years for even professionals to master this field, but nevertheless the figure quoted is extremely high even after factoring in the ever increasing inflation that football has to deal with these days.
In the wake of Raheem Sterling’s departure to Man City, after having taken an outright stance that he wouldn’t play for Liverpool football club again, seemingly fueled by his agent Aidy Ward- who was incidentally sacked by Saido Berahino having become disillusioned by his agents treatment of the whole Sterling saga, the time has come to ask one more time – are Football agents ruining football?
It is imperative that an agent manages to get a good financial package for his client, but it is also his responsibility to identify clubs that would suit the players from a footballing perspective. There have been numerous instances before in which the agents have tried to orchestrate transfers solely for the financial rewards they stand to gain by doing the same.
Sterling might go on to fulfill his potential and become a world-class player at Manchester city , but it is the way the whole situation is handled by him and his agent that has angered the fans and former Liverpool players and fans alike.
Gerrard was vocal in his criticism of Sterling and his agent when he said “They all need to be men about the situation.”
“Raheem needs to go in and speak to the owners and to Brendan himself, tell them what he wants and go about it that way. You don’t have to throw illnesses in and refuse to go on tour.”
“It’s very difficult for me to sit here and support him and the team around him – what they’re trying to do with his career at a young age.”
“It’ll be a terrible shame if he goes somewhere and doesn’t kick on as a player. I’m very disappointed, because the only way I can see for him is out at the moment”.
“There are millions and millions of Liverpool fans around the world who are itching to see Raheem Sterling in a Liverpool kit.
“So I don’t think it’s fair on them if he is behaving like that.”
If the Bosman rule helped wrest the powers into the hands of the players, then the sensational rise in the influx of money that football has seen since the turn of the millennium has provide an added incentive for more and more people to set foot in a field that is just as niche as it gets.
Football’s top officials must immediately find a way to buck this trend by imposing stringent regulations on who can become football agents and must look for a very professional approach while implementing the same.
Ironically, FIFA’s global licensing system which ended on April 1 might exacerbate an already critical situation potentially leading to exploitation of young footballers as anyone with an impeccable reputation can choose to act as an intermediary between the players and the club by registering with the football association.
FIFA are playing with fire by allowing something as ridiculous as this to transpire,which could bring in more and more greedy, amateurish people into the sport with professional expertise in the field whatsoever, and potentially tarnish the global reputation the sport has.
It is a vicious cycle and as has always been the case in modern football the fans are the receiving end yet again. While the so-called agents and players continue to make ludicrous amounts of money, it is the average working class fan who is being pushed away from the sport because of the high ticket prices that some clubs have chosen to set, especially in England.
FIFA must take it upon them to ensure that such a scenario never comes to fruition, for if it does football will never be the same and it definitely won’t be for the good.