The New FIFA Agent Exam: Explained
In last week’s blog we explained that agents must now have to pass an exam similar to the pre-2015 requirements as part of the new FIFA Football Agent Regulations (FFAR). This time around, the exam adopts a slightly different structure and delivery. The exam’s altered appearance to the one that was scrapped in 2015, includes all of the multiple-choice questions being universally applicable, based upon FIFA regulations.
Agents that have sat an exam prior to 2015 are exempt although I would always advocate for updating your knowledge of the profession. An important point to note is that despite agents that have obtained a licence after the 2015 deregulation being likely to have built the foundations of their careers already, they will be required to sit the newest exam in order to maintain their licence and status as an agent.
The table below summarises all of the key dates to be aware of for the first two sittings of the agent exam:
This time around, the exam is only available in three languages; English, Spanish and French. Candidates will also have to physically sit the exam at a specified location alongside other applicants under ‘exam conditions’. However, candidates must supply their own laptop and internet connection in order to take the digital exam. Any internet access failure during the exam will render the attempt as void and the candidate will be able to reapply for the exam at the next available date. National Associations will provide venues for prospective agents to attempt to pass the exam in person in a regulated and appropriate assessment environment.
On arriving at the venue, the candidate must also provide personal identification and proof of payment of the exam fee. The personal items that are allowed into the exam venue are the candidate’s laptop and a device to be used for the purpose of providing an internet hotspot. FIFA has stated that it is the responsibility of the candidate to ensure they have the required devices to access the exam platform. Any other items such as earphones, other devices with internet access, email communications and capable of storing data are prohibited, this includes mobile phones which must be switched off during the exam. The candidate is able to have personal notes and materials as part of the ‘open book’ nature of the exam but these must be physical as other computer software (e.g. Google) is not permitted during the exam. FIFA aims to implement a procedure that transparently informs agents about the exam and promotes honest conduct which ensures fairness in the exam.
Below is a table of items that FIFA has explicitly permitted and prohibited for use during the exam. This is not an exhaustive list and other items may also be judged as prohibited at the discretion of the independent invigilator at the time of the exam:
|Hotspot device with sufficient internet connection||Mobile phones and devices that can be used for communication|
|Laptop or computer device with compatibility with the exam format||Headphones|
|Non-alcoholic beverage container||Any item that may be deemed as suspicious and capable of misuse to provide an unfair advantage for the candidate|
|Study materials||External websites used on the computer device|
|Disability or medical aids e.g. hearing aids or wheelchairs|
Other typical exam rules apply such as disallowing communication between candidates, attempting to replicate and copy the answers of other candidates or causing any kind of disruption in the examination environment. Needless to say, actions such as leaving the exam without consent, recording the exam, sharing details of questions externally and impersonating others is also prohibited. The rules will be enforced by the administrator and invigilator that will be present.
Once seated and accepted to take the exam, the candidate will then be able to access the exam online and will then be given a designated period of time in order to complete it. The agent exam will take the form of multiple-choice questions; there will be 20 in total to answer in 60 minutes. They will ask candidates to consider different scenarios and case studies and require you to select the single best answer to each question or situation. Although the exam will be open book, as there is only an average of 3 minutes available per question, preparation and prior knowledge is necessary. The pass mark is expected to be 75% or 15 correct answers out of a possible 20. Prior to 2015, the pass rate of the FIFA exam was less than 20% and it is likely that FIFA will aim to simulate the same level of difficulty this time around. For those wishing to do so, FIFA will soon make a practice exam available on the new agent platform. This will emulate the real exam and can be a useful material when preparing.
Upon completion, the results of the exam will be directly communicated with the candidate within seven business days from the date of the exam. If the candidate has either failed to pass the exam or breached the rules of the examination, they will be informed as to the next possible steps in terms of retaking at the next available opportunity. They may also be granted the opportunity to review their previous exam attempt for a limited time. Importantly, the result cannot be appealed and hence, will be final. For those candidates that have met the required 75% score, instructions will be given to complete the licensing procedure.
What is Included?
We also covered the content of the exam in last week’s blog but it is important to include here. So far, FIFA have stipulated that the exam will consist of multiple-choice questions targeted at addressing six key regulations that they have implemented and case study application. Hence, when preparing and learning for this exam, it is important to scrutinise and to understand the following:
- FIFA Football Agent Regulations (FFAR): These are all the new regulations that have been implemented as well as those that are still relevant and applicable from previously. This covers everything from commission and representation contracts to representing youth players and exclusivity. It is expected that 15 of the possible 20 questions will be based on these regulations, whilst the remaining five questions are based on the additional five documents below.
- Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (RSTP): This is the most important of FIFA documents that outlines registration of players, contractual matters, compensation, third party influence and jurisdictions.
- FIFA Statutes: Details the legislation and general rules and regulations for the operations of FIFA.
- FIFA Code of Ethics: This outlines rules of conduct within football as well as the sanctions and disciplinary measures that can arise from it. It also includes the procedures and methods of adjudication in disputes.
- FIFA Disciplinary Code (FDC): A wider and more intricate report regarding various disciplinary sanctions and infringements from doping and assault to forgery and corruption. It also explains the various bodies and organisations involved in sanction procedures.
- FIFA Guardians – Child Safeguarding Toolkit: Refers to education on the protection of minors and players.
The most important underlying themes of the exam will concern aspects such as rules on transfers, training compensation, working with minors, the agent licensing system, commission caps, conflicts of interests and the disciplinary/legal system. Preparation should emphasise learning about these regulations. Various resources such as regulation handbooks, publicly available FIFA documents and educational platforms on the matter are the best form of learning and preparation for the exam.
Below are two example questions to help you understand the kind of thing that will he asked and the format of the questions:
- Which age range covers when training compensation can be due to the club(s) at which the player spent their development period?
- a) 12-15
- b) 12-23
- c) 12-21
- d) 16-23
In this case the correct answer is b (12-23). c (12-21) is wrong as this is only the age range for which training compensation is calculated but the sum calculated will be due every time a player transfers up until the end of the season of their 23rd birthday (RSTP art. 20). a and d are wrong as they only partially cover the range of when compensation will be due.
2. Of the parties listed below, which would be categorised as a third party by FIFA when investigating Third Party ownership?
- a) A football/soccer agent or agency
- b) An investment consortium fund
- c) Another club that the player hasn’t played for previously
- d) A club that the player formerly was registered with
For this question there are two correct answers; a(an agent or agency) & b (investment fund). Art. 18 of the FIFA RSTP prohibited Third Party Ownership private investors to acquire economic rights of professional footballers such as was the case with Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano when they signed with West Ham from Corinthians whilst their transfer rights were controlled by an agent.
In light of the first FIFA Agent exam taking place on the 19th April 2023, Daniel and Erkut will provide the ultimate virtual and interactive preparatory course to maximise your chances of success.
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