MEMORANDUM: INTRODUCING THE AGENTS CHAMBER AND WHAT TO EXPECT
The FIFA Football Tribunal consolidates the existing FIFA decision-making bodies into a single umbrella body and further facilitates the resolution of disputes and decisions on regulatory applications within the football regulatory framework. In May 2021, FIFA announced that a new chamber, which shall be named as the “Agents Chamber" will be established for the streamline the existing processes, consolidate, and clearly stipulate all governance elements, and deliver a more efficient decision-making system. The Agents Chamber's mission will be to decide disputes involving football agents, following the approval of the FIFA Football Agent Regulations.
This memorandum has been made available by Mosturoğlu | Çopuroğlu Law Office for our dear clients to provide a brief overview regarding the new structure of FIFA Football Tribunal and the soon-to-be-expected Agents Chamber.
We kindly would like to remind you that this Memorandum has been prepared within the framework of regulations published by FIFA and public opinion of respectable sports-law experts. However, below stated information are subject to change due to the fact that FIFA has neither established the Agents Chamber nor it has published a new explanatory guideline with respect to the procedures of the Agents Chamber as of the date of 1 July 2022.
As a general rule, FIFA bodies issue only the findings of their decisions without providing the grounds or written reasons. Parties are afterwards entitled to request the grounds of the decision (providing that they make the payment regarding procedural costs, where applicable) within 10 days of notification, failing which, the decision shall become final and binding, with the parties being deemed to have waived their right to file an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (hereinafter shall be referred as: “CAS”).
In May 2021, the FIFA Congress approved various amendments to the FIFA Statutes and Regulations Governing the Application of the Statutes. Key among these amendments included the restructuring of the FIFA dispute resolution bodies – namely the Dispute Resolution Chamber (hereinafter shall be referred as: “DRC”) and the Players’ Status Committee (hereinafter shall be referred as: “PSC”) within the umbrella of a newly formed ‘Football Tribunal’ which was also slated to include a new, third arm (hereinafter shall be referred as: “the Agents Chamber”) for dealing with agent disputes. Agent Chamber was expected to initiate its operations on July 1, 2021. However, as of the date of 1 July 2022, Agents Chamber has not been established. The applicable rule, which does not authorize FIFA DRC or PSC to oversee disputes involving football agents, shall be revoked as FIFA establishes the Agents Chamber. The competent institution to oversee disputes involving football agents is currently CAS, which is under normal circumstances the appeal body for disputes which do not involve football agents and/or disputes arising from contractual relationships, where parties have accepted the competence of CAS as the first degree arbitral authority. Considering that the Agents Chamber has not been established on the expected date, there is no explanatory information about its applications published officially by FIFA. However, in this article information will be given about the expected applications of the Agents Chamber.
III. Structure of the Football Tribunal
The new FIFA Football Tribunal framework consolidates the existing FIFA decision-making bodies into a single umbrella body and shall be comprised of three specific chambers, detailed by FIFA as:
- The Dispute Resolution Chamber, which shall oversee disputes arising from employment relationship between the players and the clubs, as well as disputes related to training rewards;
The Players’ Status Chamber, which shall oversee mployment-related disputes between coaches and clubs or associations, transfer-related disputes between clubs and regulatory applications related to the international transfer system and the eligibility of players to participate for representative teams; and
The Agents Chamber, which shall oversee disputes involving football agents, following the approval of the FIFA Football Agent Regulations.
FIFA has stated that, “It is anticipated that the Dispute Resolution Chamber will decide approximately 3,500 disputes per year, while the Players’ Status Chamber will rule on approximately 700 disputes and 6,000 regulatory applications on an annual basis.”
IV. Lack of Jurisdiction of a Football Tribunal Chamber
It is crucial to state that, Art. 2(2) of the Football Tribunal Procedural Rules now explicitly provides that, “in the event of uncertainty as to which chamber has jurisdiction to decide a matter, the chairperson of the Football Tribunal will decide”. Therefore, it appears that an erroneous reference to one of the Football Tribunal Chambers either in a dispute resolution clause or by way of a claim to FIFA, will not, in itself amount to a lack of jurisdiction of that Football Tribunal chamber altogether – the chairperson of the Football Tribunal will have the power to determine and direct the dispute to the relevant Football Tribunal chamber so that a decision can be reached on the merits. This new application shall be in line with FIFA jurisprudence which establishes that an erroneous reference to one of the FIFA bodies would not in itself invalidate an arbitration clause.
Considering that, procedural costs of brining a claim/statement before CAS is more than brining a disputes before FIFA bodies, we expect the Agents Chamber to ease and expedite the resolution of disputes between football agents and other parties. However, as CAS will remain as the appeal body for the Agents Chamber decisions, this can be projected as a disadvantage as well as an advantage. Two level-jurisdiction is most likely to decelerate dispute resolution procedures. On the other hand, an appeal process is expected to increase the accuracy and fairness of decisions. In order to provide you with a more accurate and current information on the proceedings before the Agents Chamber, we must patiently wait until it is established and ready to operate.
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