Fifa planning to relax on agents

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The Independent Online

FIFA are planning to withdraw from the governance of players' agents, risking criticism throughout the footballing world.

The plan has been circulated to the 208 national associations, and would see the world governing body step aside from overseeing the international market.

A FIFA spokesperson told the Guardian: "FIFA has engaged itself very actively in trying to find a solution to the regulation of international transfers, working together with its member associations and also with the clubs.

"It is also fair to recall that players' agents are not licensed by FIFA, but by the national associations already since 2001."

But French Football Federation legal director Jean Lapeyre told the newspaper: "We are going to make clear to FIFA that our stance towards this sort of idea is hostile."

But Mel Stein, of the Association of Football Agents, added: "It would be a blessing if FIFA backed out.

"They do nothing, they respond to nothing: the whole regulatory system is a mess. This is them throwing their hands up, they can't cope."

More controversially, though, it is thought FIFA will also seek to prevent national associations from governing the activities of agents.

Stein was less enthused by that possibility and continued: "The FA has tried very hard to come to terms with the commercial reality and has done some very good work. It would be a terrible shame to throw the baby out with the bath water."

The Football Association have not responded to the proposals, but are understood to be dismayed and the latter measure would be met with particular resistance.

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