Top 5 Essential Topics to Pass the FIFA Football Agent Exam


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Introduction

On the 20th of September 2023, over 10,000 registered candidates will sit the second edition of the FIFA Football Agent Exam since its reintroduction earlier in the year. As part of our courses on how to pass the exam and as further guidance for How to Become a Football Agent, we have decided to create a blog outlining the 5 essential topics and sections that candidates must ensure they have flawless knowledge of as they prepare to take the exam. These are based on commonly asked questions within the exam that are typically found the most difficult by those that attempt them.

Topic

Document

Study Material Page

Areas of Difficulties

Training Compensation & Solidarity Mechanism

RSTP

Page 249

Pages 288-293

Mathematical Calculations, longer, complex questions.

General Provisions of the Football Tribunal

Procedural Rules Governing the Football Tribunal

Pages 313-315

Different chambers and their makeup, the General Secretariat

International Transfer of Minors

RSTP

Pages 242-244

Exceptions to the rule,

applications.

Registration Periods

RSTP

Pages 223-224

Pages 591-593

Exceptions, longer questions.

Commission Caps

FFAR

Page 395-396

Mathematical Calculations, wording of the questions.

Training Compensation & The Solidarity Mechanism

Page 249 of the FIFA Study Materials contains page 46 of the key document, the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players. This page defines both training compensation and the solidarity mechanism in articles 20 and 21. 

Article 20 concerns Training Compensation and states: 

“Training compensation shall be paid to a player’s training club(s): (1) when a player signs his first contract as a professional, and (2) each time a professional is transferred until the end of the calendar year of his 23rd birthday . The obligation to pay training compensation arises whether the transfer takes place during or at the end of the player’s contract. The provisions concerning training compensation are set out in Annexe 4 of these regulations.” 

Let’s break this down and consider the key points of learning within the definition of Training Compensation. In simple terms, training compensation is due to the player’s training club(s) when they sign their first professional contract or each time they are transferred until the end of the calendar year of their 23rd birthday. For agents, compensation training is something that you must understand as it is relevant when discussing transfer fees and will need to be accounted for in negotiations every time your client transfers up until the age of 23. For the calendar years of the ages between the player’s 12th birthday and 15th birthday, the training club will be owed a sum per year at the rate of a category 4 club. However, for the calendar years of their 16th birthday until the calendar year of their 21st, the training compensation owed depends upon the category of the club where he is signing his first professional contract or is transferred to.

Key points to note that may be examined:

  • Payment of training compensation is due within 30 days after the player is registered.
  • This does not apply to women’s football but does apply to loans.
  • Training compensation is not due in three situations; if the contract with the selling club has been terminated without a just cause; if the player is moving to a category 4 club from a higher category; if they acquire amateur status as a result of the transfer.
  • There are special provisions for training compensation for transfers within the European Union and the European Economic Area. You can learn these on pages 290 and 291 of the FIFA Study Materials in Annexe 4 of the RSTP.

Article 21 on page 249 defines the Solidarity Mechanism

“If a professional is transferred before the expiry of his contract, any club that has contributed to his education and training shall receive a proportion of the compensation paid to his former club (solidarity contribution). The provisions concerning solidarity contributions are set out in Annexe 5 of these regulations.”

Whilst solidarity payments are required to serve a similar purpose, there are distinct differences with training compensation. Firstly, solidarity contributions are calculated for the ages of the calendar year of their 12th birthday to the calendar year of their 23rd rather than 21st birthday. The solidarity payment is also only relevant if a transfer fee has been paid. In other words, a free agent that is signed will not entail a solidarity contribution. However, if a transfer fee is paid, 5% of the overall fee will be due in proportion to the club or clubs for which the player played during their 12-23 ‚youth development‘ stage. 

It is likely that in the agent exam, FIFA could ask a question which gives a scenario of a player moving between a few clubs during these years and hence will require you to calculate how the 5% is distributed and the sum of money that each club is owed. Hence, the Solidarity Mechanism is vital for candidates to understand.

Key points to note that may be examined:

  • Annexe 5 on page 292 of the FIFA Study Materials explains the calculations and payment procedure for the Solidarity Mechanism.
  • Between the ages of 12 and 15, the training club(s) will be owed 5% of 5% of the overall transfer fee per year (0.25% of the total fee per year).
  • For the eight years up until the calendar year of the player’s 23rd birthday, the training club(s) will be owed 10% of 5% of the overall transfer fee for each year the player was with them (0.5% of the total fee per year)
  • A solidarity contribution is due to their training club(s) every time the player transfers, regardless of their age but it must be an international transfer or between two clubs of the same association only if the training club is from a different association.

For example questions on these topics we would recommend watching our Youtube Channel explainer videos as well as reading our blog which includes practice questions.

General Provisions of the Football Tribunal

Article 1 paragraph 2 of the Procedural Rules Governing the Football Tribunal on page 313 of the FIFA Study Materials explains that the FIFA Football Tribunal is composed of three individual chambers:

  1. The Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC)
  2. The Players‘ Status Chamber (PSC)
  3. The Agents‘ Chamber (AC)

Article 4 paragraphs 3 to 5 then breaks down the composition of each chamber which is often examined by FIFA. The difficulty is that there are very small differences between each one that can often catch candidates out. Therefore, navigation and being able to locate this section, having an in-depth understanding of it and capability of hand-picking the right information to answer the specific question is key. The best way of illustrating this to you to enforce the strength of your knowledge in this are is in a table:

Chamber

Chairs

Other Parties

Dispute Resolution Chamber

1 Chairperson

2 Deputy Chairpersons

At the proposal of FIFA and agreed upon by the other parties mentioned in the next box

15 player representatives appointed at proposal of players’ associations

15 club representatives, appointed at proposal of member associations, clubs and leagues

Players’ Status Chamber

1 Chairperson

1 Deputy Chairperson

Necessary number of members as decided by the FIFA Council, appointed at the proposal of members associations, confederations,

players, clubs and leagues

Agents’ Chamber

1 Chairperson

1 Deputy Chairperson

Necessary number of members as decided by the FIFA Council,

appointed at the proposal of member associations, confederations,

players, clubs, leagues, and football agents

Key points to note that may be examined:

  • The chairpersons, deputy chairpersons, and members of each chamber shall be appointed for four years by the FIFA Council. 
  • The chairpersons and deputy chairpersons of each chamber shall have legal qualifications. 
  • If a vacancy occurs, the FIFA Council may appoint a replacement for the remainder of the term of office. 
  • Article 8: Role of the FIFA General Secretariat. Applicability is mentioned throughout FIFA Study Materials.

International Transfer of Minors

The key point of article 19 concerning the international transfer of minors is given in clause 19.1 on page 242 of the FIFA Study Materials and states that: 

“The international transfer of players is only permitted if the player is over the age of 18.”

In other words, the general principle is that a minor is not permitted to transfer internationally. However, clause 19.2 complicates matters by providing five exceptions to 19.1 in which this general principle can be dismissed. These are explained as follows and must be learned before taking the agent exam:

  1. An international transfer of a minor may legally take place if the player’s parents (i.e. their legal guardians) relocate to another country in which the new club is located. Importantly, the relocation of the family must be for a purpose or reason that is not related or linked in any way to football.
  2. This is a specific exception that only applies if the player is at least 16 years old, but still under 18; and where either the transfer takes place within the European Union or the European Economic Area or if it is between two associations within the same country. If either of these criteria are met, the new club to which the minor is transferring to must also be shown to fulfil the minimum obligations provided in 19.2b (iii-vi) on page 242.
  3. If the player lives within 50km of the national border and the club which the player wishes to transfer to is also within the same distance of the border, it may be permitted for the player to register with the club. In other words, the distance between the player’s residence and the new club must not exceed 100km. Hence, if the player moves, they will remain living in the same location. Additionally, both national associations must approve of the transfer and registration.
  4. Clause 19.2d concerns minors who endure forced relocation due to humanitarian reasons such as threats to their human rights including their lives, freedom, religion and race. In such instances the minor may be recognised as a refugee or protected person, allowing them to sign with a professional or amateur club. If they are instead recognised as an asylum seeker or vulnerable person, they are only permitted to sign with an amateur club until they turn 18.
  5. The final exception for the transfer of a minor internationally is if the player moves without the accompaniment of their parents for academic reasons such as a school ‘foreign exchange’ program. However, such a transfer may only be for a maximum of one single year with the new club and the club must be purely amateur. It is not permitted for the player to sign with a club that is professional itself or alternatively, one that has a link with a professional club. 

Key points to note that may be examined:

  • The provisions are applicable to a player who has not previously been registered with any club but wishes to register with a club in a country that is not the one in which they live or are a national of. 
  • The Player’s Status Chamber of the Football Tribunal is charged with the duty of approving international transfers and registrations of players that are over 10 years old. 
  • The national association which the minor is due to register with is also given the duty of ensuring that the circumstances of the transfer are included in the exceptions for the registration of a minor. 
  • The duty of care to the minor and to take measures in the safeguarding and protection as well as the education of the player is attached to the club with which they sign. 

Registration Periods

Pages 223 and 224 of the FIFA Study Materials in the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players contains article 6 regarding Registration Periods. These are often examined as it is a core area of the football market that agents must understand when providing agent services to players or coaches. Make sure you are aware of the differences between men’s, women’s and amateur football; domestic rules, and the exceptions for free agents; as well as different dates and time restrictions provided by FIFA.

Key points to note that may be examined:

  • The first registration period may begin as early as on the first day after the day on which the competition period of the previous season ended, and at the latest on the first day of the new season. This first registration period shall not be shorter than eight weeks or longer than 12 weeks. 
  • The second registration period shall occur in the middle of the season and shall not be shorter than four weeks or longer than eight weeks. 
  • The cumulative total of both registration periods may not exceed 16 weeks. 
  • Article 6 paragraph 3(a-e) outlines each exception allowing associations to register players outside of a registration period.

Agent Commission Caps

Article 15 of the FIFA Football Agent Regulations on page 395 of the FIFA Exam Study Materials provides the table below to explain the caps on commission fees now placed on agents: 

Key points to note that may be examined:

  • The only permitted form of dual representation is to represent both the engaging entity (buying club) and an individual (player or coach).
  • If a player or coach’s remuneration exceeds USD 200,000 (or equivalent), only the EXCESS above that amount shall be subject to the 3% or 6% service fee cap. The first $200,000 will be subject to 5% or 10%.
  • The calculation of the service fee cap of the player or coach’s remuneration may not take into account any conditional payments.

Summary

This blog has hopefully provided a summary of the top 5 essential topics for the FIFA Football Agent Exam. We would advise you to engage with as many practice questions as possible in these areas and to ensure you have good document navigation skills to be able to efficiently find each relevant section within the exam. However, do not fail to give sufficient time and attention to all other areas that may be questioned in the exam. Although they may seem simpler, it is vital you do not make needless mistakes on these. 

For more information on how to become a football agent and to pass the FIFA exam, keep an eye out for our courses and additional resources posted on our social media platforms under the Erkut Sogut Academy.

by Dr. Erkut Sogut & Jamie Khan

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