English FA warned its new agent laws unworkable

A leading British football agent and specialist sports lawyer, Mel Stein, thinks the English Football Association doesn't like him. "Some 18 months ago when they first decided, unilaterally, to introduce new Regulations for agents, they must have hoped they would have a smooth ride. They claim to have had a full consultation process but when we got around to forming the Association of Football Agents, none of the initial Board members who represented the six largest agencies in the United Kingdom had ever been consulted! Notwithstanding that, on the basis of shooting first and asking questions afterwards, the FA managed to introduce an unworkable piece of quasi legislation on a par with the government's efforts to stop people using mobile phones whilst driving," he told World Sports Law Report.

"Draft 1 (which astonishingly became 'law' on 1 January 2006, was so unworkable that even the FA themselves merely paid lip service to it. Drafts 2, 3 and 4, which followed at fairly regular intervals, proved no final works of art (or indeed draftsmanship). What we now have is a set of Regulations which are due to come into force in May 2007. The reason they have not introduced these immediately is to allow agents to "familiarise" themselves with the same. However, in this case, familiarity can only breed contempt as having read them, re-read and re-read them again, my mouth drops ever open with disbelief at the impracticalities of the Regulations.

"It is astonishing that they have been drafted by (or at least approved by) those who seek to regulate the game of Football in the United Kingdom. When the FA Council gave them a rubber stamp on 21 November, one assumes they must have been following the party line as it is impossible to believe that anybody with any real experience of football could have read them and approved them unless they were told to do so.

"What these regulations will do (if allowed to stand and remain unchallenged, which is unlikely) is to push football back into the dark ages, where all sorts of schemes and fictions are developed simply for the purposes of avoiding the regulations and driving what had become a transparent industry back underground," he commented.