A question of representation?

The question of representation for young players is one that generates a genuine concern for all with an interest in the modern game. Modern representation is now the responsibility of registered FA Intermediaries. To many supporters and others with an interest in the game Intermediaries are commonly referred to as agents. The question that may be relevant to many parents surrounds a need for representation and what should that representation look like?

FA rules prevent any agent or representative involvement before a player is 16, despite rumoured cases of this happening with players supposedly much younger. Football has a responsibility to ensure parents are aware of the pitfalls of inappropriate third parties looking after their child’s needs. They have a right to be well informed to act in the best interests of their child.

The correct style of independent advice can help empower parents and provide them with the means of selecting appropriate representation for their child. What is certain is that they have choices. The choice to select the third party to represent their son’s needs, when this service should commence and the choice to say no at any time during the decision-making process.

The most important consideration for any parent and their child as they reach a stage of independence is education and especially regarding the consequences of relinquishing the ability to make decisions to someone who may be relatively unknown to them. A fundamental concept of the Players Trust is making athletes of any age, along with parents aware of:

  • Why they feel third party representation is required in the first place and specifically what they believe they can contribute to their career development
  • What skills and abilities to look for with this representation?
  • That a truly caring and modern style of representation is in the form of a player mentor and not in name only, but by actions?

Players should be encouraged at all stages of their careers to have independent mindsets, capable of making informed decisions based on knowledge of need. They are the asset and providing them with the best possible specialist information to take control of their football lives would be very empowering. For sure it is important to ensure that choices can be made with more knowledge other than word of mouth of peers or a need to sign up to an agent because some of their peers have.

There will be many more questions that parents and players may have about representation, such as specific rules and regulations regarding registered Intermediaries. The Players Trust would encourage young players and parents to seek the advice of one of its mentors to answer questions and help them to manage their concerns at any stage of this process. It will ensure that it provides the necessary advisory experts to help find a solution or the advice that is required.