Show me the money! Player agents and conflicts of interest!

AFL football
7 September 2006
By Simon Johnson (Partner)

Player agents operate in a competitive and lucrative industry. It is trite to say that professional sport in the 21st century is big business. In the United States, baseball players are regularly traded for sums in excess of one hundred million dollars. In Australia, the two main football codes – the National Rugby League and the Australian Football League – have been reported to have a combined revenue base of substantially more than $500 million.

This paper seeks to examine this area by reviewing the following issues:

  • The development of the player agent industry and an analysis of the influence exerted by such agents in sport today;
  • The potential for conflicts of interest to arise in the player agent industry;
  • Examples of circumstances where conflicts of interest have arisen in American and Australian sport, and how those conflicts have been managed;
  • The common law of fiduciary duties which applies to the player/agent business relationship;
  • A review of the current regulation of player agents in Australian and American professional sport;
  • Suggestions for reform to seek to ensure that player agents operate in a more transparent and properly regulated system which can be appropriately enforced.

Click 'Download' above to view the original article, which appeared in the Australian and New Zealand Sports Law Journal, 2006 and is reproduced with permission.

The content of this publication is for reference purposes only. It is current at the date of publication. This content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be obtained before taking any action based on this publication.

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Simon Johnson

Partner. Sydney
+61 2 9210 6606