How much influence can the German Football Association (DFB) have on the multi-million dollar business of players' agents? This question is now before the supreme court clarification. Today (11.30 a.m.) the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) is hearing in the long dispute between the DFB and the influential player advisor Roger Wittmann. Whether there is already a verdict is open.
Players' agents represent professionals or clubs when concluding a professional contract or during transfers. This is lucrative: According to the German Football League (DFL), in the 2021 financial year the clubs in the Bundesliga spent between 32.78 million euros (Borussia Dortmund) and 878,000 euros (VfL Bochum) on brokerage services. According to the world association FIFA, the international transfer business, which is worth billions, was around 586 million euros in 2022.
FIFA and DFB want to ensure more transparency and control in the opaque market. In Karlsruhe, various points of the DFB regulations for players' agents, which came into force in 2015, are discussed. Wittmann believes that the DFB is violating the ban on cartels. His lawsuit is supported by the German Football Players' Association (DFVV).
At the end of 2021, the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court had agreed with the DFB on some points and on other points with Wittmann's Rogon agency.
The judges considered it permissible for players and clubs to only work with agents registered with the DFB. Agreed payments must also be disclosed further. It was also confirmed that, in order to protect underage players, no commission may be collected as a matter of principle.
On the other hand, a provision was overturned according to which registration should only be possible if the agent submits to numerous DFB and FIFA rules and their association jurisdiction. That is disproportionate and not necessary.
Both sides have appealed against this verdict. It should be announced at the end of the hearing whether the BGH's cartel panel will announce a decision today. Otherwise, a separate announcement date will be determined at a later date.
Wittmann's Rogon agency is based in Frankenthal in the Palatinate. The 62-year-old has done profitable business in recent years, especially with the Bundesliga club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim.
New FIFA regulations came into force in January. Among other things, it stipulates that agents will have to obtain a FIFA license in the future in order to be able to officially operate on the market. In addition, multiple representations are to be prohibited and brokerage fees are to be limited. There is a transitional period until October 1st.