Sunday, June 1, 2014

transfer saga x2

I wrote a post in regards to my colleague sending his portuguese player to Bulgaria, here is how it all ended (bullet points in chronological order) : 

- the player calls his agent saying all his teammates have been paid, but not him. He is extremely upset. 

- Agent calls the presidents secretary (the person that deals with contractual issues in the club and the only one who speak english) asking with the fuck is going on. Instead of explaining why the player his not been paid she says the club has decided to break the contract. This of course for anybody that is familiar with FIFA player status regulations is huge contractual breach were federations can punish clubs with point deduction, penalty fees, transfer stops etc. 
Breaking a contract without just cause is some serious shit

- Agent says this is out of the question, and claims the player want to stay and fight for his place in the squad. 

- 2-3 weeks pass and the player is now waiting for his overdue salaries over a month, financially he and his family are really struggling. The club forces the player to train with the reserves (unfortunately there was nothing written about "only playing/training in the first team) with no chance of impressing the newly appointed first team coach. 

- Agent is still waiting for his overdue money, now over 10 weeks. 

- Agent together with player realizes there is no turning back now, the club is trying to put them in a situation were they are so desperate they will agree to mutually break the contract. Together they decide not to take any shit, they employe a local lawyer. 

- The contact the bulgarian federation to make a formal complaint, nothing really happens. 

- The lawyer starts negotiating with the club conditions to break the contract by mutual consent. 

- The club gets even more pissed of and forces the player to train with a individual coach, mostly running in the woods at 07.00 every morning. At one point all parties more or less threaten to sue each other and the tone is extremely aggressive.

- Clubs contact the player directly, trying to find a solution without the agent/lawyer. Hands the player a new contract that ends during the summer were the player is financially compensated. The player is loyal and directly tells his agent. Lawyer contacts the club with new demands on the handed contract, finally after 5 weeks of fighting both sides agree and sign new contracts. Player is financially ok compensated, is free to find a new employer this summer window, has a third part penalty clause also a no speaking clause with a penalty. 

Again, agents are often portrayed as the crook not this time around...    

My summer trasnfer window 2014 = 5 transfers 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

up n down

got a call colleague from a old office colleague today which made me think. The difference in how I structure my work time is immense. In my old job a had a daily and weekly routine, monday reports sent by 10.00, tuesday action-based checklist which I follow up before Friday afternoon.
Even though the tasks varied a bit depending on where we were in the accounting year, it was mainly the same thing week in and out. Then finally Weekend.


Now sitting on a thursday I have checklist that I  try to follow but its mainly for myself no to forget anything. This weeks looks something like this:
- Follow up on demand emails
- Send out new email demands
- Daniel contract
- Academy overview a) who has signed/trailed in which club b)what happens after the season
- Belgium club
- Follow up x-club and the players I presented
- Get in touch with with club, z - d - s - f - a
- Player recruitment

There is no really chronological order. All I know is that these tasks need to be carried out and honestly I wouldn't need a office to do this work (although, thank god I have).  
For example yesterday/today again it feels like I have nothing to do and I am just waisting time. All the above mentioned things are done and I dont really know were to start, it feels down. On the other hand on Tuesday next week I am driving 700km to meet 2 really good players, those days it feel up.

my main point in all this comparing to my office job I am way ahead, at the same time its not always beautiful

have a nice easter  

Friday, April 4, 2014

transfer saga

i regularly hear opinions that agents are seen as scum and have a general appearance of untrustworthy. Ask most pro-player or experienced agent they will say dito about clubs, the difference is that nobody reports on this.

Had a Skype conversation with an agent colleague today that is active in Portugal:

- He took a domestic player to a mid size club in Bulgaria. The player went on a short trial on after a couple of days the club wanted to sign him, negotiations went quite smooth and within 10 days all paperwork was done (both player and agent contracts with the club). Within two weeks the club signs 5 more players and now has a squad of around 35 players in total. Anyway the coach (that was present during the trail) gives the player a chance and he plays quite regularly for the first couple of weeks. The teams results are not satisfying and the club gets allot of negative press in regards to their newly acquired players and transfer strategy.

Some press is also negative towards my friends player, he is the only one that actually plays out of 6 new players and therefor gets all the negative press of the terrible transferwindow focused around him. The weeks pass and when pay-checks should come through the players account is empty. At the same time he has taken his whole family to the very far end of Europe and bills are gathering up (rent, food, kindergarden etc.). He finds out that all other players in the team has been paid and naturally asks his agent to look into the matter. The agent calls the president up and asks why his player has not been paid and also why his invoice is late 6 weeks (although late agent invoice are almost standard nowadays).

Without answering his question the president start saying he is disappointed with the player and the negative shade this has put on the club (in fact directly on him) and wants to break his contract, this 7 weeks into a 3+1 year contract. As an example he emails the agent an article and hangs up, end of discussion.
- The player is now in a foreign country with his family with no mny.
- The agent has not been paid.
The club of course know that breaking a contract without just cause can lead to serious punishment from FIFA but they will now do everything to make the player that uncomfortable that he will agree to mutually end the agreement. Not paying, training with reserves, not inviting him to team activities etc.

The end of this saga now seems to have a happy ending anyway. Agent is currently in CAS process and it looks good for their party...

The agent business is built on protecting their client from not being screwed, disregarding if its a football player, movie star, music artist or a painter dealing with a gallery/exhibit.

Also me being very eager to make a deal in MLS I have tried to expand my network overseas, both clubs and agent colleagues. I have to say the difference in terms of general attitude towards agents there is huge. They are seen in a much more positive light. In US most agents have rich academic background in sport management or sport law, also the agent tradition is much longer over there.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

tbt & nr7

its thursday (through-back) and the month of february is coming to an end. For me this means two things:

1. Without being sentimental but more since its #tbt, its exactly one year ago I went to my second hometown to totally isolate myself. It was 8 weeks before my FIFA exam and I had quit my job and really gambled everything on one card. Honestly I had no real back-up plan and looking back at it the pressure I put on myself was massive. On top of that I had not told that many friends/family that I actually had quit and was writing the exam. I told people I was away on business but really went into serious study mode:
- 7 weeks of intense studying
- 8 hours/day including saturdays
- no substances

On exam day I was quite nervous but managed to pull myself together, the nervs kicked in after the exam. More exactly the 48 hours I was waiting for my federation to give me the result, terror.

2. Number two or in fact nr.7. Tomorrow my seventh transfer will 99% be done, its already official on the clubs webpage but 2 big details are missing. We are negotiated and are totally agreed. My contract between the club and agent, and players signed employment contract. The player is from Asia and is young, since it will take him 3-4 days to travel to the club and sign live they prompted on electronically signing the contract. So I have sent him his contract and tomorrow morning the player will print, sign, scan and email it to me. Then I will wait for the club to do the same with the agent/club agreement. I trust the chairman but I will not take any risk in sending the players contract in beforehand, in theory when they have the player-contract there is no incentive of signing our agreement.

Again its a player from the academy I work with, going to a domestic championship club. Unfortunately a club in this league neither has the budget or will to pay any agent commission, nor does the player make the money I would feel comfortable being remunerated my 10%.  My end will come if the player explodes, I have 15% of next sale (including FIFA training compensation).

Looking at the seven transfers I have done in the past 9 months, they were all very different. Different structure, background, commission, country, key factors etc.
This is the whole tickle, contrasts.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

winter turning to spring

similar to the summer window also january started slow. The stress knowing that the market is active, agents move their players and you not delivering is stressing. In other words the whole January was hard, deals breaking down last second, unluck, high expectations and bad timing made my stomach turn inside out. Now mid Feb everything feels much better, have done 3 so far. Here comes a quick recap on each case:

1. One of the players I tried moving already this summer was sitting on a ending contract and it was now or never for him to make a shot at europe. On top of that I did not have an representation agreement signed with him which means I am also racing against other agents offering him different deals. Everything was lined up in beginning of January for a mid size club in eastern europe, agreed in terms of contract and agent fee and after just setting the last practical details in terms of dates the club suddenly is not convinced. The dont pick up my phone calls or respond to emails, this is never a good sign. I slowly realize they are looking at other options and at the same time the player getting more stressed, this one had the potential to become a nightmare. 
Out of the blue some random dude informs the player that another team in the same league are interested and that he can help. I act with full aggressiveness to secure I own the situation and take 100% charge, call the coach, president, team officials making sure they understand I and nobody else represent the player. We go down together and visit the club, quite quickly agree then fly back to sign. 

For me a big important deal done, for the player a great move both financially in from a sporting perspective. 
Important also that is makes a good statement for other players I want to sign. 

2. An academy player signing his first pro contract. Arranged a 2 week trail for 2 kids from the academy I work with. Both really made a great impression, unfortunately the club could only afford one of them. He signed a 2 year deal with a domestic Championship club. The club is a small budget club so there is not even worth mentioning any agent provision and the player salary is small as well (I would never take mny from a young player like this). My financial benefit is if the kid explodes and moves, I have 30% of future financials such as transfer fee or training compensation. 

3. For me a very underrated player, which club was relegated from the top tier. As many relegated clubs they suffer tremendously financially. My player which I had signed already this fall had a quite high salary and everybody knew he was way too good to stay. I had 2 clubs on the line both willing to make substantial offers (remember that 95% of all transfers these days are free agents). The selling club honored the situation and was realistic in their demanded price and everything went very smooth. Although my player was top 3 most expensive player they have ever bought... 
In these scenarios when 2 clubs want the player the loosing club will always get disappointed and pissed at the agent, so also in this case. My relationship with them is now spoiled, but thats a part of it. 

So even though the winterwindow is not closed yet I have done 6 transfers my first 2 windows. A result I should be very happy with, but as with everything my appetite is just growing. Maybe I can squeeze in 1 more deal this window, that would be fab. 

Exactly 1 year ago I gambled and quit my job, applied to take a license and sat alone for 2 months straight and just studied. Looking back, best decision ever.