soccer brokers blocks today in Jaarbeurs

soccer brokers blocks today in Jaarbeurs
Silent exams!!!

NOS Football

  • Oscar van der Horst

    editor of NOS Sports

  • Oscar van der Horst

    editor of NOS Sports

Much to their anger and dismay, thousands of soccer business agents must go back to school today. Initiated by world federation FIFA, they will be subjected to a tough exam, competing for their future as player agents.

This is a mandatory exam for all agents who started after 2015. Worldwide, there are already more than 6,500 applications for the test, some 160 of which are in the Netherlands.

At 10 a.m., the exam will start at the Utrecht Jaarbeurs. There the agents will be subjected to some 20 tough questions about FIFA regulations.

No piece of cake

That heart rates will be high at the Jaarbeurs, that much is certain. Previous mock exams showed that the pass rate was barely twenty percent. In particular, cramming a five-hundred-page tome full of English-language FIFA rules proved an ordeal.

Within the case management community, then, the new exam is not being received with cheers. Last Monday, ProAgent, the interest group for Dutch brokers, demanded that the exam be scrapped.

According to the agents, FIFA’s exam is “disproportionate” and “misguided,” but above all harmful to some careers and businesses that have been built with blood, sweat and tears in recent years.

A ruling on the case is expected on May 10. In doing so, there is a chance that all exams will be invalidated, but it could also mean that many soccer agents (who fail their exams) will no longer be allowed to officially assist their players.

FIFA squabbles with agents

Chaired by President Gianni Infantino, FIFA has launched an attack on soccer agents. The association believes too much money from transfers is flowing away to a tangle of agents and middlemen. To curb excesses in agent land, Infantino wants to tighten regulations and raise the bar for being an agent.

From now on, fiduciaries will have two chances every year to obtain their licenses through this exam. For those who do not attend or fail the test on Wednesday, there will be an opportunity to retake on Sept. 20.

So, with considerable reluctance, thousands of agents reported Wednesday for the test, which is being held across several locations worldwide. From Chicago to Madrid to Frankfurt. From Buenos Aires to Tokyo to Rome.

“It’s quite a happening for our agents. Last eight weeks we practiced intensively with our agents to get them ready for the test,” says Daan Smit of the Amsterdam office SEG, which operates worldwide with about a hundred agents.

No fewer than seventy of them are taking the exam today in various locations around the world. Twenty Dutch SEG agents are heading to the Jaarbeurs.

“No, we haven’t hired a bus for them,” Smit laughs. “However, there are a few of them who have already booked a hotel, because they don’t want to get stuck in the Utrecht morning rush hour and therefore be late. This is really important for many of us.”

Fortune seekers and cowboys

Unlike interest group ProAgent, SEG does approve of the brokerage exam. In recent years there were too many fortune seekers and cowboys active in the brokerage landscape. Soccer players could be assisted by anything and everything.

“In terms of credibility, this does ultimately benefit the profession,” Smit points to the sometimes tarnished image of the soccer brokerage profession. “Precisely a review like this keeps the professional standards of the profession high.”

Kayleigh Williams