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 video, along with a 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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?
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%.
This is a really important area. 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?
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). Both of these statements are due by 1 September each year.
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 back to their home state?
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.
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)