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Jonathan Barnett unhappy with FIFA's consultation efforts on agent reforms and says legal action possible

Jonathan Barnett: "That set of rules has been drawn up by people who don't understand the industry. We are all in favour of regulation everywhere but we must sit down with a blank piece of paper, if that's what they want, and come up with a set of rules that are right and correct"

Jonathan Barnett's sports agency Stellar Group have been acquired by entertainment giants ICM Partners
Image: Jonathan Barnett says FIFA's idea of consulting with agents over proposed changes do not match his own and says court action might be necessary

Leading agent Jonathan Barnett has accused FIFA of failing to enter into "meaningful consultation" on their plans for agent reforms and has warned the matter could end up in court.

FIFA is planning to reform the transfer system and regulate agents, effectively capping the fees they can receive from transfer dealings at 10 per cent of the fee and three per cent of the player's wage.

On Tuesday, the world football governing body revealed that more than £375m had been spent on intermediary fees in the last two years - a table-topping £100m of that by English clubs - despite a decrease in transfer business overall.

But Barnett told Sky Sports News the plans, which could be brought in from next season, have been "drawn up by people who do not understand the industry" and called for sit-down talks with FIFA before anything is entrenched into football's rule book.

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The changes are in the "final stage" according to FIFA, but Barnett said: "That set of rules has been drawn up by people who don't understand the industry.

"We have written to them, we have spoken to them and said quite simply we are all for and all in favour of regulation everywhere, and that's for agents, clubs, for FIFA, we should all have rules and regulations but we must sit down with a blank piece of paper, if that's what they want, and come up with a set of rules that are right and correct.

"FIFA have drawn up a set of rules and have not done meaningful consultation whatsoever. They've been drawn up by people who do not understand the industry. It may sound crazy to people outside football but they have no knowledge about how a proper agency works."

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FIFA chief legal and compliance officer Emilio Garcia Silvero said on Wednesday that there are "some groups who prefer not to be consulted" but Barnett feels he and the remaining members of The Football Forum - an international movement of football agents - are being widely ignored.

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"The Football Forum that we started up is now the major governing body of all the agents in the world. All of the major associations have agreed to come with us and we speak now for hundreds if not thousands of agents," he said.

"Maybe it's because we are the mouthpieces but we are backed by nearly all agents. There are some agents working with FIFA that I promise you nobody has ever heard of. They must be the agent of Fred Bloggs. That's what they do. They find three agents who have never done a transfer in their lives and say it's been meaningful consultation.

"We represent thousands of agents and we can all turn up if you don't believe it. We will go to court in Britain and we'll go to court in Europe as well because there are different laws there now.

Mino Raiola
Image: Mino Raiola is president of The Football Forum, with Jonathan Barnett and Jorge Mendes among the vice-presidents

"There are two alternatives. Hopefully, and I would love it with all my heart, FIFA see common sense and sit down with us properly and work with us together to come up with something that will please everybody.

"If they are prepared to sit down and talk fine. If not, and I know they are not worried about it, we'll see them in court.

"I have no problem speaking to FIFA but I will only speak to people that have the authority to do something. Normally when they have a meeting they send round their second or third teams and all they say is 'we have to report back'.

"First of all we have to sit down with the right people and second of all with a blank piece of paper. Their idea of consultancy is to call everybody into a room, say these are the rules, take it or leave it. That's not consultation."

Sky Sports News has contacted FIFA for further comment.

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