Shady agents scamming vulnerable football players, warns Dutch union VVCS

Football players, shady agents

This article was last updated on June 2, 2023

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Rising reports of fraud, threats, and intimidation by agents

Players in professional football are increasingly being scammed by shady agents, warns the Association of Contract Players (VVCS), the Dutch union for professional football players. Vulnerable players receive high promises which cannot be fulfilled, and they may become victims of fraud, threats, and intimidation.

An agent’s role is to help players get noticed by clubs and negotiate contracts. Since 2015, it has become easier to become an agent, and this has led to unscrupulous individuals taking advantage of unsuspecting players. The Netherlands had 241 registered agents in 2023, and FIFA reintroduced licensing examinations after abolishing them in 2015.

Vulnerable groups

According to Evgeny Levchenko, chairman of VVCS, the increasing reports of scams are happening to a vulnerable group of players. Agents often know who has an expiring contract and how much a player earns, and this information makes it easier for them to approach such players and make unrealistic promises.

VVCS’s response

VVCS recommends increased information for clubs and players. They believe that if something has gone wrong, basic conditions agreed beforehand will make it easier for the union to take necessary action. VVCS also emphasized the importance of players taking responsibility for their choices, such as not transferring money in advance for tickets.

FIFPRO’s recommendations

FIFPRO advocates for a standard agreement between agents and players in all countries, stating that this can facilitate action from unions and other organizations if something goes wrong. Roy Vermeer of FIFPRO recommends a certification course on such agreements for aspiring agents. However, this may require regulatory or jurisdictional support from national and international federations.

Responsibility of aspiring and registered agents

Rob Jansen, an agent responsible for players like Ronald Koeman, believes that players can protect themselves better by thinking logically before taking any action. This can mean asking an agent for concrete details and consulting with a lawyer, parent, or union if needed. Jansen recommends that aspiring agents take the certification course and remain informed of any updates in regulation and best practices.

The risk that remains

Unfortunately, many instances of agents scamming players happen at levels outside of professional football, where the absence of protective measures for players serves to further the interests of unscrupulous individuals. However, increased awareness of such cases can provide footballers with a better understanding of the risks and make them more cautious in their interactions with agents.


Overall, players in professional football should remain vigilant and cautious while engaging with agents, especially if the agents are unknown to them. Increased awareness about the risks, coupled with greater transparency and regulations from authorities, can serve to protect vulnerable athletes and uphold the integrity of football as a profession.

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