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    CONTRACTS – AGENCY – SPORT

    AGREEMENTS: COMMISSION: SPORTS AGENTS: TRANSFER: EFFECTIVE CAUSE OF AGREEMENTS: TRANSFER OF FOOTBALL PLAYERS :FIFA REGULATIONS

    A football players’ agent was not entitled to commission on the transfer amount received by a football club under an agreement in respect of the transfer of a football player, because what he did to interest another club in the player, was not the effective cause of the transfer agreement reached between the clubs.

    The claimant (L), a football players’ agent, sought 10 per cent commission pursuant to an agreement on monies received by the defendant Brazilian football club (C) in respect of the transfer of a football player from C to a football club in the United Kingdom. L was licensed under the Licensed Players’ Agents Regulations made by the Federation of International Football Associations. L had a business relationship with a “football consultant” (R), who prepared the agreement in the name of L as R was not registered with FIFA as a players’ agent. By the agreement, C was to authorise L to interest two clubs in the UK in the player for a 10 per cent commission of the transfer amount if a sale resulted. The agreement provided for it to be signed by C, and the names of the two UK clubs were to be inserted after the agreement had been signed. However, that did not occur. Subsequently a meeting was arranged by R in the UK to discuss the transfer. A second version of the agreement was prepared, which also provided that L would receive 10 per cent commission of the transfer amount. Thereafter, one of the UK clubs made an offer to C and an agreement was reached. The issue was whether the payment of commission had been triggered. C’s submitted that the circumstances relating to the transfer were not such as to make commission payable under the agreement. C argued that, construing the agreement in the light of FIFA regulations, it could only be performed by L personally, which it was not.

    HELD: (1) Under the terms of the agreement L was authorised “to interest” the two UK clubs in the player. However, the club which bought the player was already interested in acquiring him before the meeting in the UK, which had been arranged by R. Such existing interest was not affected or created by what R did, nor was it materially increased by what he did. It was not an effective cause of the agreement reached between C and the UK club. Accordingly the claim for commission could not succeed. (2) (Obiter) Although the FIFA Regulations prevented the use of another to carry out the agency work, FIFA regulations were not part of English law. A commercial agreement of a general nature could be performed through the actions of another.

    Judgment for defendant.

    ACQUES LICHTENSTEIN v CLUBE ATLETICO MINEIRO (2005)

    QBD (Jack J) 29/6/2005

    “Lawtel”: 11.7.07