By Asaph Mwebaze
Tom Cruise’s role as Jerry Maguire in the 1996 movie by the same name helped glamorize the sports management industry.
‘Show me the money’ became a popular catchphrase, which summed up the responsibilities of this fictional sports agent in a neat package.
While real-life football agents do seek revenue for their clients, their duties extend beyond merely showing their clients income. Understanding the job duties is important as most in Uganda don’t really conceptualize it and thus the many problems that have arisen.
This week I break down the responsibilities of football agents or representatives.
Find the job or employment
This is the core duty of the football agent as it’s also what pays him. The agent should look far and wide to get the job for clients. Unfortunately, in Uganda, the players find the job and the agent follows in tow.
The first and major role of a football agent is to manage the career of their clients. Career management is a life-long process of investing resources to accomplish your future career goals.
The career management process embraces various concepts; self-awareness, career development planning/career exploration, life-long learning, and networking. The agent can continue managing the footballer even after active football life.
Twice a year, the business of transfers comes around. Who goes where? for how much? And for how long?
While there’s much talk about the obvious questions, some other questions are not as regularly explored. How were these decisions made? What sort of discussion was held and by whom?
Most football transfers include four key parties: the selling club, the buying club, the player, and the agent.
A contract is a legal document detailing the rights and obligations of all the parties for the duration of the agreement.
As a specialist provider of legal advice to the football and sports industry, an agent or player manager is perfectly positioned to advise on signing a contract.
During contract negotiations, it is imperative that the best interests of the client are satisfied and the most lucrative outcome is achieved.
Despite the significant financial sums and other obligations at stake in contracts, it is surprising how many players do not seek professional legal advice especially here in Uganda.
Whether in relation to initial contract negotiations, transfers or the contractual implications of promotion and relegation, it is vital that professional advice is sought in order to ensure the best outcome.
Financial planning or wealth management is far more complex than what some players take it to be; such as, what is considered in making investment decisions.
True wealth management is about handling taxes, building homes, pensions or savings, later life planning, finances after death. This is what a football agent should help their client.
Sponsorship and marketing opportunities
This is another source of income for football players while still active and even after retirement. The agent should try and find avenues to enhance their client’s earnings through endorsements of goods and services.
Public relations (PR) refer to the variety of activities conducted by an agent to promote and protect the image of a football player and appearance in the eyes of the public.
Thus, it aims at managing the public opinion of the client (player). Public relations encompass a broad range of activities which will include appearances, helping charities, social media accounts, media interviews and interactions.
Many players experience disciplinary issues that can easily be handled by their agent or representative. While handling this, the agent could hire a counsellor to keep the player grounded and in check. Players like Mario Balotelli have been examples of players with difficulty with discipline.
Welfare advice – cars, housing, banking, investment, etc
This is also a keep duty of the agent. As players play and earn money, somebody with expertise has to handle the life of the football player off the field.
Things like finding them accommodation in new towns, transport or buying cars, banking of salaries, allowances and side incomes but most importantly investing for the future.
The author is a CAF B licensed coach he also holds a Bachelor’s of Commerce in Accounting and Finance degree and a Master of Arts in Public Administration.