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Agents, clubs or parents? Who is to blame for exploiting young players



There's an overwhelming acceptance that agents are approaching minors, including via social media - some describing practise as "grooming".

 Clubs use agents & offer inducements to recruit academy players, despite regulations to the contrary.


Do the regulations need to change? Would banning agents for under 18s cause clubs to simply exploit them even worse than currently? 

Comments

  • One of those youngsters tells The Athletic that he receives messages regularly on social media. He was first approached by an agent at the age of 12. He is not alone.

    “Most of my friends have had similar experiences,” he says. “It happens all the time.

    “They don’t go through the parents because they know what the response will be. They fill the kid’s head with dreams and ideas. You’re susceptible to these things at that age.”
  • all 3 are to blame, but in order...Agents, Clubs, Parents (in the main)
  • all 3 are to blame, but in order...Agents, Clubs, Parents (in the main)
    Some agents, some clubs, some parents 

    Can a child sign for a clubs academy without their parents permission?
  • Defoe’s mum.
  • se9addick said:
    all 3 are to blame, but in order...Agents, Clubs, Parents (in the main)
    Some agents, some clubs, some parents 

    Can a child sign for a clubs academy without their parents permission?
    agree

    I'm pretty sure not, but by that time they've already been 'sold the dream' by agents/clubs
  • edited October 6
    The whole question of how children are dealt with in football needs a good look. The revelations from the abuse convictions are chilling and the possible abuse to get kids under wraps poses questions about grooming, emotional and financial abuse.
    The FA, PL, EFL and Government need to take responsibility and create policies and procedures with power to protect children coming into football. 

  • Defoe’s mum.

    She might argue that her son's career hasn't been damaged by leaving us at the age of 16. The subject matter is "Who is to blame for exploiting young players?" after all. Not "Who is to blame for exploiting clubs?"

    From an article about their relationship:

    Parents in football are hardly unusual. Neymar's father caused controversy in 2014 for making millions out of his son's transfer to Barcelona and Arjen Robben is another high profile star who has made headlines due to his father's influence as agent. Zaza's dad handled his loan move to West Ham last summer and Michael Owen was famously represented by Terry, his dad, for a good few years when he was at his peak.

    But, mothers are perhaps a little more unusual. Are we pre-conditioned to view a footballer with a 'pushy mam' differently to how we would view a father acting as their agent? Quite possibly. But, in Jermain Defoe's case, having his mam heavily involved in his life and career has worked out a true treat.

  • All parents will want what is best for their son,but unfortunately,smooth tongued agents(not all) will be in like a shot if they spot an earner.Most football prospects come from working class backgrounds,can anyone tell me that backhanders dont go on between clubs and parents(via agents) Very often the lad involved will just be pawn in a ruthless merry go round.Many lads will see stars in their eyes when presented with the prospect of playing for Man City,Chelsea etc.,the liklehood of making the grade at these clubs are in fact remote,and these lads will be far better off staying with smaller clubs and maybe later in their careers if they progress get their dream move.There can be no better example of players coming through the system and getting their dream careers than Charlton,we continually find gold dust,the problem is getting them to stay at the Valley for a few years until they mature rather than have their heads turned too early and fade into obscurity later.I await the outcome of Deji contract talks.
  • Agents damage the game 

    Maybe players should just grow a pair and negotiate contracts themselves.

    May sound an exaggeration, but I consider agents targeting 12 year olds and feeding their brains with "hopes and dreams" to be a very mild form of emotional abuse.

    Never say that stuff to a kid....and just so you can get a cash injection.

    That crap pushes them down the wrong pathway. 
    It decreases passion for the sport imo and makes it a dull dog eat dog chase money and success, alone.
  • Dave2l said:
    Agents damage the game 

    Maybe players should just grow a pair and negotiate contracts themselves.

    May sound an exaggeration, but I consider agents targeting 12 year olds and feeding their brains with "hopes and dreams" to be a very mild form of emotional abuse.

    Never say that stuff to a kid....and just so you can get a cash injection.

    That crap pushes them down the wrong pathway. 
    It decreases passion for the sport imo and makes it a dull dog eat dog chase money and success, alone.
    Why should a 17 year old, or younger, be expected to sit down alone with a Steve Gallen or Thomas Sandgaard, two very experienced negotiators?

    That is wide open to exploitation by clubs.

    Agents, be they parents or solicitors or ex players like Jon Fortune are necessary to protect young and old players.

    What's wrong is that too many people can just call themselves an agent, there is lax regulation and enforcement and, cruically, many clubs and parents like it that way.

    Agents should be much more tightly regulated and only paid by the players, there should be limits on how much their fees are (2%?) and players and clubs should be fined for using unregulated agents.

    But it will never happen because clubs like the wild west market that allows them to nick players with underhand deals.
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  • It's not an agent problem nor a football problem.  It's a society problem.  Not an British one either.

    It happens in all walks of life, where earning potential is vast.  Does any other industry produce as many new millionaires as regularly as football?

    You see aggressive recruitment of minors in loads of other industries/institutions/walks of life but most of them don't attract agents because there is no obvious, instant money.   We also see, often high profile, child stars lives ruined by bad advice or treatment from their parents that a good agent could have stopped.  Sonny Pike, Micheal Jackson and Britney spring to mind, I am sure there are dozens of others.

    Players signed for big clubs and made other bad career choices long before their were agents. 
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