Agents, players unstable…the transfer market is in a crisis of growth

The winter volleyball transfer market, which has been launched in France since December 20, is coming to an end as the Football Planet transfer window is in full swing. This period has been used by clubs to recalibrate and has never seemed more useful, while players, with the support of their agents, are used to changing clubs during the season.

The agent problem in football is well known. Multiple abuses of opaque pay, which have and continue to tarnish the controversial image of the world’s most popular and most-engaged sport, have been widely documented in recent years. In volleyball, a discipline still in the process of professional construction, agents emerged later. In the early 2000s, there were very few such people on the market, and a small number of people traveled to contact parties interested in entering into contracts related to paid exercise for physical activity.

Before the time when the contract was prepared to be mailed, players could no longer send messages, and it naturally evaporated. Because he also found his account elsewhere. Relationships between stakeholders are now more formalized. Sports agents are involved in nearly all player-to-club or club-to-club communications, and volleyball, like most professional team sports, starts with football.

“Volleyball has the same dynamics as football, just on a smaller scale, and sometimes compared to football, some of the rumored numbers are much more mediocre,” reports a well-established agent in the volleyball world. The average annual salary of an AM League player will be between 30,000 and 70,000 euros (3,626 euros per month for the 2018-2019 season, according to DNACG), more or less equivalent to the monthly salary of a professional footballer in Ligue 1. another dimension. It is also true that the deregulation factor remains money.

“Once there’s a lot of money, the practice will intensify,” our agent added. Nothing surprising so far. But as one club president, who declined to be named, pointed out, “the subject matter is very broad”. and delicate. This was demonstrated by a former player who at one point considered taking a risk before withdrawing. For fear of getting into trouble in what he describes as “the world of sharks.” In modern volleyball, players’ talents are discovered earlier and earlier. All is well and can steal the Nuggets or stars from the opposing team. It’s not uncommon for two brokers to claim the same commission or for one broker to pop up out of nowhere, “whereas six months ago, the guy had no broker,” we’re told.

“The world is changing,” said one leader. “Players change agents throughout the year, it’s complicated, and we’re increasingly facing this problem. It’s the players who choose their agents, the clubs are only influenced by the middlemen that the players provide us. You can’t decide between you and the who to deal with.”

Who is the agent and who is not?

The person in question, exactly, let’s talk about it. To pursue a career as an agent in the middle of volleyball, an FIVB license is required. Except in France, an international license alone is not enough. The law requires the agent to also hold a license issued by the French Volleyball Federation (FFVB)* as an authorised federation after the exam. However, most foreign agents, sometimes even French, who fail to acquire precious sesame seeds, do not have French licenses. This does not prevent them from going directly through the club – theoretically they have no right to do so – when the latter know who they are dealing with, which is not always the case.

This raises the question raised by some unrecognized individuals canvassing, outlaws: “I didn’t see it in volleyball. Actually, it happened to me, but I saw it in three seconds. “I know the market well, I know a lot of people and I see it very well when someone claims to be an agent, reports Chaumont president Bruno Soirfeck. I can tell him to go your way, It doesn’t matter. Also, we can find the same phenomenon in foreign clubs, because they are training clubs, they ask for tickets, it doesn’t happen every four mornings, but you have to be vigilant.

A group of so-called unscrupulous agents never hesitate to press the doors of French clubs, even when they practice in the most utterly illegal: “They think they’ve done the job for you because they made a call and we were Annoyed at the management of the LAM club, young players are caught by strangers, young people need to be reassured, then the agent comes, they immediately ask for authorization, demand payment (sworn agent’s compensation is a percentage of the player’s total income Calculation) You have to be careful, especially when you’re young, it always feels good ‘to have an agent’ on the one hand to be reassuring, but it throws some around for friends.

“Some institutions are mailboxes”

In France, Georges Matijasevic’s LZ Sport agency has a near monopoly on the championship. And for good reason, it’s the most important in the world, only when competing with another Italian agency directed by Luca Novi. In the shadows of the two control towers will emerge more humble agents, who sometimes choose to stay because it fits their vision of the profession, such as France’s David Bottrell or Italy’s Chiara Castagneti. “It’s the way I like to work, it represents the way I am, and I’m not going to change it to make money,” the former player said. Starting from scratch in 2003, Georgie Matiašević traveled the world and built an unparalleled network that made his agency a major force in the European transfer market.

Agent Fasset didn’t expect to see those “wild agents” we mentioned above thrive: “These guys are doomed, they get roasted everywhere. Twenty years, you turn around, you can only be in a My dad (Nikola Matijasevic) called me from Cannes (he recently coached the defending French champions in Cannes, bottom of the standings) and he saw that the players on offer were basically okay except that the guy had a broken finger and hadn’t been for months. Played, not serious… Either the agent is intentionally bad, or he doesn’t know, but you have an obligation to be transparent and you have an obligation to quality. It is not you who are responsible for the performance of the players, but a serious and professional obligation.

In an ideal world, all agents would be able to provide their players with sound advice on technical, legal or tax issues. To ease clubs that don’t always meet this requirement. But again, the job doesn’t always seem to be done in earnest: “I think agents are the radar on the edge of the highway,” ironically for a president who wants legislation on the issue. “Some agencies are mailboxes, they only introduce players, we as a club manage procedures with wives, children, visas, with federations…”, another annoyed.

new balance of power

In February 2021, Nathan Warnebaina (note, the iconic captain of TVB, the three-time champion of France and Tours) impossible to leave, transferred to Libya overnight in February 2021, to Tu Ernest dealt a brutal blow and marked the beginning of a period of change in what Pascal saw as Fossad. “Wounembaina and the president came to us, we refused once, twice, the third time, you have to find a solution”, said the TVB director general regretfully.

Volleyball is a sport that is played at a very high level all over the world, with a sufficient number of players available for clubs to look for replacements, and with a variety of alternatives, more or less satisfying. . However, the club is not letting things go. To recruit additional players, France has a mid-season transfer window that runs from December 20 to January 19 (exact dates vary by country). Outside this window, the French club is entitled to two medical clowns, and that’s it.

However, the balance of power between clubs and players, which has long been against the latter, is changing. “Foreign players have agents, and not all players, now all players have agents.” In this case, all players have to adapt to this new market, players move and defend their interests.

“Players who don’t feel well or are struggling financially are asking to leave and the mentality has changed a lot. Adding outside the transfer window is complicated, super complicated and our rules have to evolve”, an impatient Pascal Fossard. A Players who leave – and there are always more players leaving clubs during the season – are not always replaced and then clubs find themselves tied.

“Ronald Jimenez (ex Chaumont, Turcon…), just joined Cannes and has done well in the Polish Championship. But a big Korean club that wanted to recruit him bought him out , gave him an offer six times more than what he had touched in Poland,” recalls Georges Matijasevic. The problem is, the players are not fully satisfied and the club is impatient. Match result: Jimenez signed for Cannes this winter, his third club in a year. New protocols imposed on French clubs, forced to adapt.

* Repeated contact with the French Volleyball Federation (FFVB) declined to answer our questions.

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