On-going success story, the FIBA Licensed Agents process was initiated in 1996 on the basis of general ideas and proposals, followed in 2003 and 2005 by informal gatherings with Agents, who shared their expertise and whose vision shaped the first draft of regulations, that was to be approved by the FIBA Central Board and the Congress in 2006.
Behind this worldwide enterprise was the need to create a structure for professionals who are involved in the “business” of international transfers and to provide a code of ethics that protects the values of basketball and the interests of all parties involved; agents, players, coaches, clubs and national federations.
It has been three years since the first FIBA Players’ Agent’s session in March 2007 and FIBA now counts over 350 licensed Agents active all over the world. This figure includes 25 talented and dedicated ladies, while as many as 52 nationalities and 191 companies are represented, covering a significant 90% of the market. Unsurprisingly, Europe takes the lead with two-thirds of the total number of certified members, while the USA stands as the biggest entity, which can be explained by the fact that the majority (53 out of 63 US agents) are either active US Bar members or NBPA/WNBPA agents.
Presently, in a business that is potentially on the verge of saturation, the number of Agent candidates is likely to decrease or even stabilise in future. For the time being, tests are held bi-annually at the FIBA Headquarters in Geneva, with sessions in March and October, while their frequency in other parts of the world, like America and Oceania depends on the demand.
Nowadays, with the financial impact of international transfers and the players’ value at stake, the agents’ role is crucial. They act as go-betweens and advisers for several parties such as players, coaches, clubs, or federations. Their profile has evolved over the years from that of player representatives to become multifaceted as promoters, negotiators, mediators, legal advisers, personal assistants and mentors, ensuring that their “clients/players” can concentrate on basketball.
As of the start of next season, in September 2010, the names, nationalities and ID numbers of the FIBA licensed agents involved in an international transfer will be mandatory on the relevant Letter of Clearance (LoC) granted by the national federation of origin. As a result, FIBA Agents will automatically be associated and linked to all international transfers. Relying on a close collaboration with the national federations, FIBA will have made a gigantic step towards transparency to protect the ideals of our favourite sport.