Agent fees: Clubs spend record £702m for international deals in 2023

English teams account for almost a third of a record $888m (£702m) spent on agents’ fees in international transfers in 2023, says a Fifa report.

The figure represents an increase of 43% on the $623m (£493m) spent in 2022 and surpasses the previous record of $655m (£518m) from 2019.

English clubs were the biggest spenders this year with $280m (£221m).

More than $1m (£790,000) was spent on agents’ fees in women’s football for the first time.

The Football Agents in International Transfers report says there were a record 3,353 international deals this year. It excludes domestic transfers such as Declan Rice’s £100m move from West Ham to Arsenal and Moises Caicedo leaving Brighton for Chelsea for £100m.

Harry Kane left Tottenham for Bayern Munich for £86m and Jude Bellingham joined Real Madrid from Borussia Dortmund for £89m.

The report shows clubs in Europe accounted for 87% of spending on agents in 2023. Clubs in the Saudi Pro League spent $86m (£68m), with Karim Benzema, Sadio Mane and Riyad Mahrez among the players to move.

South Korea had the greatest share of outgoing transfers, with agents involved with selling clubs in the K League making up 32% of the total spent. Women’s clubs spent almost $1.4m (£1.1m) on agents in a record 125 transfers. Legal dispute over capping agents’ fees

The Football Association has published the details of a tribunal that has ruled that its plans for new regulations to cap agents’ fees would be in breach of UK competition law. It had planned to introduce the rules, which closely mirror new Fifa regulations at the international level, in October, but a legal challenge was made by four player agencies, resulting in arbitration proceedings.

The FA has indicated that it will hold off implementing the cap to allow further discussions to take place with the agencies. The tribunal report said it reserves the right to make a final decision on the plans if no agreement can be made.

Fifa later said it has “already scheduled a meeting with the Football Agent Working Group to discuss the outcome of these proceedings, among other topics, and will communicate the next steps in due course”.

The world governing body’s rules have also been challenged, with a district court in Dortmund, Germany, granting an injunction preventing certain aspects of the new regulations, including the cap, from being applied to any deal where any party – such as an agent, club, player or coach – had a link to the German market.

In the summer, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) indicated its backing for the Fifa regulations, saying capping agent service fees was “appropriate” to combat the “negative effects” of agent services.

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