Hundreds of agents descend on London's ExCel centre to sit FIFA exam

Agents of chaos: Hundreds descend on London’s ExCel centre to sit FIFA exam as they look to re-regulate the industry – though it briefly descends into farce with a number having failed to pay the entry fee!

  • Agents descend on London conference centre to sit FIFA-sanctioned exam
  • The hour-long exam saw its start delayed after a number had not paid the fee
  • Pass mark is 75 per cent though they will have an opportunity to resit in autumn 

There were chaotic scenes at London’s ExCel exhibition centre on Wednesday where hundreds of the country’s top agents were made to wait over half an hour to begin their FIFA intermediaries exam.

The hour-long exam – which agents must pass to continue operating as a licensed player representative – was scheduled to begin at 2pm but a number of no-shows who had not paid the £300 fee caused a lengthy delay to proceedings. Some candidates also experienced technical glitches.

Agents were allowed access via their laptop to a 528-page study document containing FIFA’s rules and regulations. The key topics covered in the exam include rules on transfers, training compensation, working with minors, the agent licensing system, commission caps, conflicts of interests and the disciplinary and legal systems.

Among the agents present to sit the 20-question, multiple-choice test were Mason Mount’s father Tony, Marcus Rashford’s brother Dane, Trent Alexander-Arnold’s brother Tyler and Harry Hickford, who represents Dele Alli.

The exam has been introduced by FIFA to regulate the number of agents, which currently stands at more than 2,000 in the UK alone. A previous test, before FIFA deregulated the industry in 2015, had a pass rate of just 20 per cent – leading to concerns a similar proportion will fail this time around.

Dele Alli’s best friend and agent – Harry Hickford (right) – was one of hundreds of football agents pictured leaving their FIFA exam they must pass in order to keep operating in the game

Agents must hope they have successfully navigated the hour-long, rigorous exam in order to keep their licence, with hundreds of them left sweating over their futures in the game

Matt Warner (R, who represents Eberechi Eze and Josh Dasilva) alongside Joel Pannick (C) who represents Maya Yoshida and Yoshinori Muto

The pass mark is 75 per cent but any entrant who failed Wednesday’s paper can re-sit on September 20. Fail again and they will be barred from transfer and contract negotiations as well as speaking to clubs, players and their families.

The FIFA website containing a mock paper crashed for a period on Tuesday, with so many users attempting to access the portal for last-minute cramming. Some agents even hired lawyers to help them with revision.

Mail Sport has been told this will be welcomed by many in the game, especially as family members can become emotional during negotiations. 

There were also questions over whether Mark Bellingham – who Mail Sport understand has been studying for the exam in an effort to represent his son, ahead of a widely anticipated summer transfer away from Borussia Dortmund – and Harry Kane’s brother Charlie, who represents the England captain – would attend.

Insiders also told Mail Sport they can see the pros and cons of the move to re-introduce the exam.

One agent said: ‘The idea of removing those who have only entered the industry in recent years, and with the prime motivation of making money at any cost, is a good thing.

‘But the test does not make allowances for good agents who perhaps don’t have the academic experience to pass this sort of paper, which is very complicated and not particularly relevant to the day-to-day workings of an agent. 

Richard Lee (who represents Ben Foster, R) photographed leaving the exam hall 

Dane Rashford (middle, back) was one of the agents photographed lining up for the exam

The FIFA exam comprised 20 multiple choice questions and has a pass score of 75 per cent

This included Michael Jarman (with coffee cup) who is part of Anthony Joshua’s entourage and lists Arnaut Danjuma, Patrick van Aanholt and Lionesses star Chloe Kelly among his clients

Ex-Sheffield United defender and coach Chris Morgan (second from left) was in attendance

‘The mock questions generally concern things you do not need to know immediately.

‘It is unfair in that regard, in that you are being scored on things that do not really prove your credentials as an agent or otherwise.’

Those who fail the test can also remain employed by their agencies in a consultant capacity, but sources say they could become a burden to employers, given the need for licensed colleagues to accompany them on agency matters.

A total of 6,586 candidates from 138 member associations applied to take Wednesday’s one-hour exam – which costs £300 – at various locations around the world.

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