How to select your player agent

How to select your player agent

The AFLPA provides the following as a guide to assist young players and their parents when selecting a player agent.

Selecting your player agent can sometimes be a daunting task.   So the AFLPA has created the following series of questions you may wish to consider asking any player agent before making your decision.  The aim here is to build your knowledge so that you are in a position to make the right decision.

Some of the following questions may seem basic and obvious, however it’s recommended they form the basis of your discussion with a player agent who is pitching their services to you.  It’s also important to remember that there is a set process in place for agents to follow when making their initial approach to you.  For more information on this please check the agent regulations, which can be found here.

General Information

Where are you based?

Is the geographic location of your player agent important to you?  If you are based interstate during the football season would you prefer to sign with an agent that is based closer to where you spend the majority of the year or your offseason (e.g. back home)?  Modern technology has broken down a lot of accessibility issues and some management companies even have offices in multiple states.

How long have you been accredited with the AFLPA?

The experience of your player agent is important to understand.  It also important to know the background of those who work with the agent if they will be working closely with you.  You should meet every person you will be working with prior to signing with an agent.  This will allow you to develop relationships and ensure the company is a good fit.

Have there ever been any grievances or complaints filed against you or an associate of yours? 

Important to know if the agent has previously been to be found in breach of the Regulations or been involved in conduct that has led to some form of discipline from the Agent Accreditation Board.  The AFLPA can provide assistance in this area if required.

Contract Negotiations

Who will be looking after my contract negotiations?  Will I have someone else looking after my day to day needs?

Really important to have a clear understanding of the proposed structure of the player/agent relationship.  Some management companies will have a ‘lead’ agent that looks after contract negotiations while leaving the day to day management of a player to his/her associate.  There is no right or wrong structure, you just need to be comfortable and aware of the arrangements.

Can you provide an example of some of the contracts you have negotiated at AFL level?

While the agent shouldn’t go into an individual’s contract specifics, it’s important to get an understanding of his/her history in negotiating contracts with AFL Clubs.  In particular it’s important to find out how the agent has performed with their clients across a broad range of age/experience groups.

Clients

What is the total number of clients you, or your firm, have on AFL lists?

There is no right or wrong answer.  It’s up to you whether you want to join a management company with a larger presence or a boutique firm that may provide more personal attention.  Important to find out exactly how many clients the agent is currently looking after and also what that breakdown is per club.  Do they manage any coaches?

What was your recruiting strategy going into this draft?

It’s important to find out how the agent approached this year’s draft in terms of their recruiting.  Did he/she target specific players or was it more of a wider approach in that they met with a high volume of players.  It’s important to understand the research an agent has put into you individually, have they watched you play?  What do they know about you both on field and away from the game?

Support

What type of service do you provide to players that aren’t selected in the drafts?

This is really important to understand as obviously not every player is selected.  Find out what the agent has done for his/her clients in previous years, did they assist to secure future football opportunities at 2nd tier level or employment/study options?  Do they provide feedback from club recruiters as to why the player wasn’t drafted and suggest areas to work on?

Fees and other information

What fees do you charge?

The AFLPA does not mandate what an agent can charge in relation to fees.  This is purely a discussion between the player and the agent.  Typically agents won’t charge a fee during a player’s first season or if they are on a rookie contract.  From their second year on a list, it’s usually in the 2% to 5% range on any football payments a player earns.  In relation to any commercial or promotional activities, the typical rate is 20%.

How do I pay my agent fees?

Agent fees are usually deducted out of your salary by your club in monthly instalments.  You should discuss with your agent and your club what the best method of payment is for your circumstances.

What do I get for my fees?

This is a really important discussion.  You should have a discussion with your agent about the exact services and support you are to receive at the same time you are discussing fees.  It’s critical the expectations from both parties are clear and there is no confusion around what you are getting for your money.  How much contact do you want from your agent? Weekly, monthly, in person, on the phone etc.  What are some of the services the agent will provide in the period before the draft, in my first season and into the future?

What information are you required to provide to me?

All players must sign a Standard Player Agent Agreement with the agent they choose.  This agreement outlines the terms and conditions of the player-agent relationship, along with the fees to be charged.  Every agent is also required to provide an annual statement outlining their fees and any expenses incurred in the delivery of their services that are passed back on to you.  Agents are also required to provide a statement to their clients outlining any commissions received by the agent for referring you to a third party (e.g. financial planner, insurance etc).

Post Career

What type of support does the agent provide following your career? 

Important to get an understanding of the agent’s track record in this area.  Get an understanding of what he/she has done for players who have recently left the game.  Have they helped with further football opportunities (e.g. second tier football), securing employment or study for their clients?  What assistance have they provided for interstate players relocating to their home state?

What relationships do they have with their former clients?  Does the agent still keep in touch with his former clients?

These questions will give you an idea about how the agent approaches the transition phase and how active they remain with their former clients.

General

What are some the biggest mistakes players make that can harm or derail their careers?  How do you help to avoid players making these mistakes?

This should give you an insight into the agent’s experience and their management philosophy.

Are there any issues that may impact on your ability to represent me that I should be aware of?

Important to understand if there is any pending legal action, disputes, mergers, career changes etc on the horizon that will impact your situation.  If there is an issue, make sure the agent discloses as much information as possible to ensure you are fully aware of the situation before making your decision.

Are you able to provide some references for me to gain some further background knowledge about your company and you as an agent?

It’s important to do some background checks and seek the opinions of others before making a decision.  This way you can verify what the agent is telling you.  Seek out some of his/her former clients and other relevant people in the industry (e.g. teammates, club staff, other football contacts)

For more information please contact Braden Stokes, Manager – CBA Compliance and Accredited Agents on (03) 8651 4300 or bstokes@aflplayers.com.au