In general agents earn commissions in respect of the salary of a football player and also in respect of the transfer fee paid to the player. Some agents also receive commissions for any commercial deal their clients enter into.
Normal commissions on the salary would amount to 5% to 10% of the gross income of the player. These figures are market practice. Figures of 15% are more are not market practice so we would recommend not accepting these percentages.
Normal commissions on the transfer fee amount to 3% to 20% of the transfer fee paid to the club. Please be aware, however, that also players could get such percentage. This means that the higher the percentage for the agent, the less the percentage will be for the player. If the agent tells the player that this percentage is reserved only for the agent, he may be trying to take advantage of the player. This practice of percentages on the transfer fees have slightly changed since FIFA has abandoned third party ownership but it is still possible to agree on a lump sum success fee in case a player makes a transfer.
Next to that agents also often get a percentage of the commercial contracts (sponsorship contracts, image rights contracts, boot deals,…) the players sign. A fair percentage would be between 15 and 25%.
Football players should always be careful when signing representation contracts. We highly recommend to avoid that the representation contracts provide that the players should pay the agents (unless the player for example terminates the contract prematurely). Under normal circumstances, the club always pays the agents’ commissions.
(Older) research from FIFA has shown that a combination of the above earnings lead to the fact that agents earn around 30% of all the money that flows in football. Officially they will, however, earn only around 5 to 10%.