With the increase in professionalism in women’s football in England, now has come the time for the football agents to up their involvement.
Until recently, there were a minimum of them around the market but since England’s third place at the World Cup, that number has exploded.
The FA WSL is growing steadily but the wages are nowhere near big enough for most players to make a living. They can be be up to £65,000 per season for the most paid players, but a lot less for the huge majority of the girls in the FA WSL 1.
Transfer fees are also becoming quite common now in women’s football, while for years and years you used to have players leaving at the end of their contracts on a free. The recent move for an alledged £50,000 to £60,000 for Fran Kirby from Reading to Chelsea is just the beginning of a new era.
Note: as early as 2012, there were some transfer fees involved in FA WSL but they were not being reported as teams were buying out players’ contracts under the radar.
When the FA WSL players joined the PFA a couple of seasons ago, many players used them as their agents. There seems to be many agencies around those days and they cover every available player from WSL1, WSL2, and England youth up to the u17.
Glenn Harris, the Doncaster Belles’ manager, raised the alarm on this, comparing it to grooming players and there are certainly questions to be asked about having 15 or 16-year-old girls being signed up by agencies, while they are still going to school.
The current set-up does not allow for women’s football players to as much money as the male football players and certainly not enough to retire once their career is finished. Therefore, most of the players will go back to work or actually still work while playing football. The Women’s football financial model still needs to be developed.
You do worry that younger players get misguided advice about their career as studying and having a job will open the pathway for the majority of the girls but the professional route seems to be the only one touted by some football agents. The majority of the girls might not need a football agent, they can deal with teams and coaches for a potential move by themselves with their parents’ help.
I tend to speak to players and to coaches from the FA WSL, the NWSL (the US League) and the Division 1 Feminine (French League) about players and for those type of international moves it does make sense to have an agent involved.
For example back in 2013, a French side asked me to scout a British player, get in contact with her and once the player said she was interested, the club spoke to her agent, they dealt with the English club and the player moved to France a month later.
We will see what the future holds but I would be surprised if the FA WSL turns into the same circus as the EPL on a smaller scale of course.