09 Apr Five ways the footballing shutdown impacts the world of football agents
The world of a football agent never stops – in or out of a transfer window – even as the beautiful game screeches to an untimely halt due to the near worldwide footballing shutdown.
For most, football has become secondary as people look after their families and loved ones, but for agents the big wheel keeps turning with players needing representation now more than ever.
The situation involving the coronavirus shutdown has wide-reaching implications for everyone across the globe but here are just some examples of how it will affect the day-to-day life of an agent.
Transfer markets across Europe can open from the beginning of June with some closing the first few days of September.
It is undoubtedly the busiest time of the year as football clubs look to bolster squads, but the global pandemic threatens to alter the summer window’s landscape, no matter how it opens.
FIFA have reportedly put forward plans to move the summer window as appropriate when games begin again [Financial Times].
This is necessary as in the likes of Europe, UEFA have suspended the current league indefinitely despite reports suggesting otherwise, with playing the matches no matter what the governing body’s main aim.
Agents have got to be prepared for sudden decisions to be taken on this and be ready when FIFA puts plans in place.
Another legal minefield brought on by the footballing shutdown concerns footballers’ contracts with many set to expire by the beginning or end of June.
It’s a worrying time for those players with unsure futures as negotiations with clubs are made more difficult, whether they’re looking to stay or go.
According to the same Financial Times story quoted above, FIFA are hoping that contracts can be extended to any “new end date of the season”.
Other options being mooted are short-term monthly rolling contracts which expire when the football season eventually ends.
Agents have a role here to best represent the needs of their clients and ensure they get that security and/or are kept well informed of the latest developments.
Football relies on playing games in order to survive and a global sporting shutdown means clubs are rapidly running out of match ticket, TV and retail money.
Even the likes of Barcelona have had to introduce extraordinary short-term wage cutting measures as football’s highest earning club takes stock of the situation.
Clubs may be more hesitant to buy, some may even be forced to sell, but football agents need to ensure packages and proposals which are adaptable to the changing economic situation in football.
There remain opportunities out there and these will increase as the situation becomes clearer over the coming months but it’ll be the most creative who seize them.
Player identification and scouting
In the business of buying players scouting and player identification acts as the foundation of a club’s transfer strategy.
Hours of footage and visiting live matches are sandwiched between meetings and face-to-face negotiations as clubs look to secure top talent across borders.
Enforced travelling restrictions will make clubs hesitant to send their players abroad for talks whilst club scouts cannot attend matches and properly review a player’s suitability.
Many clubs could even look at their own domestic league for transfer inspiration rather than take a punt on a player they’ve not thoroughly scouted.
More than ever agents must utilise the wealth of technology at our fingertips to promote our clients and find creative solutions to engaging with clubs.
It’s not just clubs or players who will struggle with the travel restrictions currently being imposed around the globe.
Travel is essential to the job of an agent in order to build relationships, broker deals and be at the forefront of negotiations.
Having limitations on travel will undoubtedly affect player transfers and the ability of an agent to carry out tasks with clubs across the world on a conventional basis.
Once again this is where the access to technologies become invaluable as the best agents find a way to get their players and their messages across.
Social media, video calling, and creative content are positive, constructive ways to build relationships and assist clients.
The benefits of the revolutionary e-learning programmes provided by the John Viola Academy become even clearer during this period of reliance on technology – students can learn the essential knowledge to begin a new career as an agent from the safety of their own home with no other requirements other than a internet connection and spare time.
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