How to select your 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.

If you would like to speak to a representative of the AFLPA then please contact Matthew Lobbe, Accredited Agents Manager on 03 8651 4383 or mlobbe@aflplayers.com.au.

A full list of AFLPA Accredited Agents can be found here.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR POTENTIAL AGENT

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’s 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.

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

It is 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.

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.  It is 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 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?

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 five per cent range on any football payments a player earns.  In relation to any commercial or promotional activities, the typical rate is 20 per cent.

How do I pay my agent fees?

Agent fees are usually deducted out of your salary by your club in monthly installments.  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.  What are some of the services the agent will provide in the period before the draft, in your first season and into the future?

How much will my agent contact me?

It is important to consider how much contact you would want from your agent. This will vary from player to player, and could be weekly, monthly, in person, or on the phone. You should have a discussion about this before signing an agent agreement to ensure you and your agent are aligned.

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

It is important to 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 are some of 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)

Agent contact rules

There is a set process that all agents need to follow when approaching a player or their family in relation to discussing playing management.

The approaching players process is as follows and is the same for both male and female players:

  • A player must not be approached prior to 1 October in the year in which the player is last eligible to play in the National Under 16 Championships. (e.g. top age Under 16)
  • At least 7 days prior to approaching any player, the agent must provide written notification to the player’s club notifying them of their intention to approach the player.
  • The initial approach to the player must be via a written letter of introduction, a copy will also be sent to the player’s club.

Players and their parents cannot be approached at the following times:

  • ​Prior to, during, or immediately after games or training sessions;
  • Whilst the player is participating in a state body finals series;
  • Whilst a player is participating in the National Under 16 and/or Under 18 Championships;
  • During a period commencing 7 days before the player’s secondary school or university exams and concluding after those exams are completed;
  • A player shall not be approached via social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
  • Agents must not attend any AFL Combine

In relation to the National Under 18 Championships, a player cannot be approached whilst they are under the effective control of their state program, or as it is commonly referred to, whilst they are in ‘camp’ for matches played in the carnival.  This includes periods that the player is training and travelling to and from games.  For the avoidance of doubt, a player must not be contacted until they return home from their playing duties.  

Once a player receives written notification from a player agent they can elect to begin communication directly with the agent if they wish.  

When a player elects to sign with a player agent, they will enter into a Standard Player Agent Agreement (SPAA) with the agent which is then lodged with the AFLPA.  The player will then be listed as having signed with an agent and will no longer be eligible to receive approaches from other agents. More information on the approaching players protocols can be found on the Agent Regulations page.

Inducements

Under the Agent Regulations, all player agents are prohibited from providing anything of value to you or your family in exchange for signing with them or their management company.

Examples of inducements may include:

  • Football boots
  • Clothing
  • Mobile phones or computers
  • Sporting memorabilia
  • AFL match tickets, grand final tickets or tickets to other events
  • Access to a corporate box to watch a sporting event
  • Access to fitness programs or specialised training at no cost to you

Do not accept anything of value in return for signing with an agent or agreeing to sign with an agent at a later date.  If you believe you have been offered an inducement please contact the AFLPA to discuss in confidence.  All conversations with the AFLPA are strictly confidential and will not impact upon any player’s future draft prospects. 

Approaches from Accredited Agents

*This section is currently only relevant for NAB League players* 

Along your journey towards the AFL, it is likely that some players will need to make a decision in relation to whether or not they should sign with a player agent. 

The AFLPA have developed a portal that allows you to decide, and then communicate, exactly when you want to be approached by a player agent.  

Your contact preferences will be made available to all player agents accredited by the AFLPA, and they will be able to approach you in writing via the portal according to your contact preferences.  

You should decide when the time is right to receive approaches from player agents based on your individual circumstances.     

How to use the portal:

  1. Go to http://www.approachingplayers.com.au/ 
  2. Login via the grey button in the top right hand corner using the email and password provided by your Talent Manager / AFLPA.  
    Important: Review your details via the ‘Update your personal details’ tab.
    In particular, you need to decide with your parents/legal guardians what is the most appropriate email address to login to your profile and receive approaches from this site.  You should also update your password the first time you login.  Please ensure you update all fields on this page so they are current.    
  3. Browse the site and update your contact preferences via the ‘Set/update contact preferences’ tab in the Players Area.
  4. Ensure you regularly review and update your contact preferences as they may change throughout the year.  Also ensure your contact details are kept up to date so you can receive approaches at the appropriate time.  
  5. Any approaches made by a player agent to you via the website will be forwarded to your nominated email address.  

Player agents play an important role within the AFL industry and can provide great value to players at all stages of their careers.  However, it’s important to remember that signing with a player agent is solely your decision and it’s not compulsory to have one.  You should only sign with a player agent if you feel it is the best decision for you and your football.   

If you have any questions please contact the AFLPA via mlobbe@aflplayers.com.au.