1. Introduction and overview of the regulatory framework in Norway
Norway has not introduced any national sports law nor a specific law regulating players' agents. There are, however, various national norms that might be applicable depending on the service provided by the agent and his role in the transaction such as the law on conclusion of contracts, agent authority and invalidity (1), the penal code (2), and the lawyers' code of conduct. (3)
Although general national laws might be applicable in disputes concerning players' agents, the questions arising from these will generally be governed by the regulations of the sports associations. Furthermore the most developed set of regulations are those of the Norwegian Football Federation (hereinafter NFF). Therefore the structure in the following will be that the NFF regulations on players' agents (hereinafter NRPA) will serve as a starting point of the analysis, and problems caused by norms of a higher comparative value will be treated continuously.
The current NRPA entered into force 1. January 2009. According to [section] 1-1 of these regulations they are designed with due consideration to the FIFAs regulations on Players' Agents (herinafter FRPA). The NRPA is, however, more detailed and at some points more restrictive than the FRPA.
In the following a brief overview of the most important rules will be accounted for. Since the formal criterions as to who can obtain a license, the procedure for application and issuance of the license, the insurance requirement etc. generally coincides with the provisions of the FRPA, these matters will not be addressed in this contribution.
2. The scope of the regulations
According to [section] 1-1 the NRPA aims at regulating the profession of agents in general. With regard to the extent of activities governed by the rules these are limited and developed by the introductory provisions in chapter 1, and the definitions in chapter 2.
The first important limitation can be found in [section] 1-3, which sets out that NRPA only applies to agent services provided to players and coaches. This rule has its parallel in article 1 subparagraph 3 of the FRPA and implies that services rendered to coaches and managers fall outside the scope of the regulations. The provision in [section] 1-3 further limits the applicability of the NRPA by prescribing that the regulations do not apply to other services than those agreed between an agent and the player in connection with transfers, loan or contract negotiation. Hence, the regulations govern the work of agents in their role as intermediaries in transfers, implying that other services commonly conducted by agents such as management services, mediation of for instance sponsor agreements or representation in potential disputes fall outside the scope of the regulations.
The second important element of importance when assessing the applicability of the NRPA, is the definitions in chapter 2 that underlines and develop the interpretation of the provision seen in the latter paragraph.
The NRPA [section] 2-1 defines an agent as a person holding a valid license issued by one of FIFAs member associations. The wording does not distinguish between natural persons and legal persons. However, read in the context of the definition in FRPA paragraph 1 it should be clear that only natural persons may obtain status as agents.
In [section] 2-2 agent conduct is defined. According to this article agent conduct includes the following activities:
* Introduce/Market a club towards a player.
* Introduce/Market a player towards a club.
* Participate in meetings on behalf of, or together with a club or a player in connection with a transfer, loan or contractual terms.
* Discuss or negotiate terms in a potential transfer or loan with a club or a player.
* Negotiate with a club on behalf of a player or another club
* Communicating with the media on behalf of a player or a club about a transfer/loan or the possibility of such a deal. …