UEFA considering cap on fees that clubs pay to agents

UEFA is considering a cap on fees to player agents, whom they believe are "disproportionately'' well paid and whose quality of work is dropping.

UEFA's Professional Football Strategy Group, which consists of the main stakeholders in European football, discussed a range of new initiatives at a summit in Nyon, Switzerland, on Tuesday.

The topic of agent fees, back in the spotlight following Alexis Sanchez's move from Arsenal to Manchester United, was high on the agenda while Financial Fair Play, squad size limits, and a "transfer tax" were also examined.

Sanchez's representative Fernando Felicevich received a reported £15 million for his part in the Chile international's transfer to Old Trafford, which was formally announced on Monday.

Paul Pogba's agent Mino Raiola was also said to have been paid £24m for brokering the midfielder's £89m move from Juventus to Manchester United in 2016.

A statement from UEFA read: "The PFSC endorsed a joint position on football agents/intermediaries, which is designed to shape policy change in this regard by potentially adding a cap on fees, introducing more transparency/accountability, and appropriate sanctions in case of infringement of the rules."

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin told The Telegraph on Monday that clubs have told them they have been held "hostage" by agents.

Ceferin said the clubs say agents "come and they say, 'Look, you will pay me 50 percent of the transfer or the player goes somewhere else.' Or, 'You will buy him but you will buy also him and him and him, who you don't want but you will pay the commission and you will take them.'"

Citing the risk of "economic exploitation of young players, fraud, corruption, and money laundering," UEFA said European lawmakers can help address illegal practices.

UEFA said FIFA's attempts in 2015 to reform monitoring of agents and intermediaries "failed to address serious concerns." Clubs and players now get poorer service, the governing body said, while more agents working in the industry have driven demand to recruit even younger players.

Ceferin told the Telegraph that FIFA was "absolutely wrong" to have deregulated agents, adding: "We should have a cap, how much a club can pay [an agent]. If the player is stupid enough to pay by himself then we can't stop that."

Last week, UEFA's annual study of European club finances described rising commissions paid to agents as "eye-watering."

That study found that agent commissions averaged around 12.6 percent, though in 32 percent of deals studied the agent claimed a fee of more than 20 percent, mostly on deals worth less than €1m.

That report also focused on the growing financial gap between the biggest clubs and the rest of Europe, and Ceferin told the Telegraph that restoring "competitive balance" is his top priority.

"I'm fed up of politicians saying, 'Do something for competitive balance,' and then, when you speak to Brussels, they say, 'Ah, but everything is forbidden by the EU law.'

"We have some sporting measures that we can establish without politicians. We can do luxury tax, we can limit the loans, we can limit the number of registered players."

Information from The Associated Press and Press Association was used in this report.