FA Agent Fees Oddity
This week the FA published the agent fee amounts that clubs have paid in the past season (1 February 2017 to 31 January 2018), and in terms of the Championship, Villa paid more than any other team with a total of £5,510,180.
As MOMS suggested in a previous article on the Aston Villa agent fees, the amount seemed a little odd, when considering various other figures in the FA report.
For starters, the amount according to the way the FA presented the data was based on the fees of the tractions of just 18 players (in, out and new contracts), while, for example, Wolves total agent fee spend of just £2,001,023 was from 36 player transactions and Sunderland’s £4,370,897 (the second highest spend) was based on 29 players.
How was Villa’s total even possible? Considering Wolves had made double the player transactions and that Villa hadn’t spent any major money on incoming signings during the two windows. Glenn Whelan and Ahmed Elmohamady’s nominal fees were the biggest in terms of actual transfer fees.
Something seemed odd, especially after Villa’s Footballing Director Steve Round’s recent declaration that Villa had cut right down on agent fees whilst he was at Villa.
Villa are still paying off agent payments for players that have long left the club
After further investigation, talking directly to the club on the matter of recent Aston Villa agent fees, one thing that is immediately apparent from the FA’s reporting is a lack of context.
Under FIFA law, the Premier League and EFL need to declare the total each club has paid in intermediary fees (aka agent payments), also, they need to name all the players signed in that period (including new contracts) from 1 February to 31 January.
The two figures though are not necessarily related and thus can be misleading in the way they are presented in such a cold fashion by the FA.
The principle reason is that not all agent fees are paid upfront. The rule of thumb is that they are usually paid in equal instalments over the period of the player’s contract.
Normally, when a player moves on from a club, such agent fees are terminated in line with the player departing.
Unfortunately, this does not seemingly apply to some of the deals done by the previous Villa regime, as Villa are still paying off agent payments for players that have long left the club.
The summer transfer period of 2015/16 under Tim Sherwood’s tenure, when Tom Fox was CEO and Paddy Riley was scout master general, is seemingly particularly guilty of dragging on such agent payments.
In that season, Villa were the fourth highest spenders on agent fees in the Premier League.
What the Fox Went On?
In terms of the 18 players listed by the FA for this season, Villa informed MOMS that only around £650,000 was actually paid out to agents in conjunction with them.
Such a figure mathematically makes more sense in comparison to the other Championship club’s figures listed by the FA for this season.
MOMS was informed that one rolling agent fee attributed to a single player bought in the aforementioned 2015/16 summer window, who is no longer at the club, is actually more than double the amount of what Villa paid for the 18 player transactions during the 2017/18 season.
Also, lets say the player in question’s contribution to the club was very similiar to Boško Balaban’s…
That summer’s recruitment period continues to have repercussions beyond the disaster of sowing the seeds for Villa’s relegation.
The summer of last season also saw the first steps of a squad over all, so the Aston Villa agent fees under the new regime were also high.
It’s no wonder that the club have adopted a more principled approach to agent payments.
Never mind money though, hopefully a little more common sense will also go a long way to helping get the club back on track.