Written by Richard Wee, Wong Zi Ying, Lim Zhi Ying and Muhammad Anwar

Award No CAS 2023/O/9370 

Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)

Appellant — Professional Football Agents Association (PROFAA), Zürich, Switzerland
Represented by Mr. Juan de Dios Crespo Pérez of Ruiz-Huerta & Crespo in Valencia, Spain

Respondent — Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), Zürich, Switzerland

Represented by Mr. Miguel Liétard in Zürich, Switzerland; Dr. Jan Kleiner in Zürich, Switzerland and Ms. Victoria Wakefield KC in London, United Kingdom

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has issued its award on the dispute between the Professional Football Agents Association (“PROFAA”) and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (“FIFA”) concerning the FIFA Football Agents Regulations (“FFAR”).

In December 2022, FIFA introduced the FFAR to reform the football agents’ industry. The regulations established a licensing system for football agents and governed their services in player and coach registration and transfers between football clubs. They also addressed the service fee cap by the football agents.

PROFAA raised wide-ranging claims against the FFAR, alleging that certain provisions infringed upon Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”), the Services Directive, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights, the General Data Protection Regulation, Swiss competition, and personality law, as well as national laws of Italy, France, and the collective bargaining agreement between Major League Soccer and the MLS Players’ Association.

In response, FIFA vehemently denied each of PROFAA’s claims, contending that the FFAR was a lawful regulatory measure essential to ensuring the proper functioning of the international transfer system and upholding the integrity of football.

After thorough consideration of the written submissions, oral pleadings, and evidence presented at the hearing, CAS issued its unanimous award where the Court dismissed PROFAA’s claims in their entirety, affirming the legality, validity, and proportionality of the FFAR. In the award,  CAS addressed crucial issues concerning the application of EU and international law to regulations implemented by international sports governing bodies.

As an outcome of the award, FFAR will proceed as planned and take effect on 1 October 2023. The FFAR will impose a 3% commission cap for transfers exceeding $200,000 and a 5% cap for deals below that threshold, with a 10% earnings cap when agents act for the selling club. Additionally, agents must pass a mandatory exam to obtain a license, and multiple representations will be prohibited to prevent conflicts of interest. Furthermore, agent fees will be paid through FIFA’s financial clearing house.

Overall, the CAS Award marks a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to reform and regulate the football agents’ industry, shaping the future landscape of player transfers and agent conduct within international football.

Published on 3 August 2023

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