Last week Atilla Türker from Habertürk, a Turkish daily newspaper, wrote two pieces in a row about the uncontrollable influence player agents have over Turkish football. Türker pointed out the huge amounts of money agents make from even the simplest transfers and how that harms both the clubs' management and their budgets. Although the consensus among people who work in the football industry is aligned with Türker's views, seeing as he also mentioned names and numbers, the columnist was threatened by several agents afterward. Now, one thing is very clear, and that is the fact that player agents have established a kingdom of corruption in Turkish football and they are being protected.
Now, there are numerous agents in Turkish football, but there are only 186 registered to the Turkish Football Federation. That means, there are thousands of agents who work illegally, and they are not afraid of getting caught, since none of them have ever been caught doing their job without a license, largely due to poor regulations. Secondly, how can these people trust executives to feel any obligation to guarantee their money with a contract? The answer is simple, they are protected not just because of the poor regulations, but also by mafia patrons. Otherwise, how could two agents call Türker in the middle of the night and threaten his life?
However, things get even more interesting as you go deeper into these cases. First of all, they work as consulting companies, they hijack the players' licenses and influence their decisions much more than you can imagine. I call their actions hijacking because once you give your license to these people, you are at their mercy. That is why we hear, as Türker showed in his pieces, agents getting paid almost double what players get from a contract.
Furthermore, even the licensed agents are working deep and outside of the poor regulations. I checked the names of two agents who threatened Türker on the Football Federation's database and the results were shocking. Only one of them had a record of being involved in a transfer in 2016 and the other did not any proof he was actually doing his job. But when you go to their websites, or even Twitter accounts, you see dozens of players bought and sold by these people. Thus, even registered agents cause millions of Turkish liras in damage and bad transfers in Turkish football.
It is interesting why the clubs, who are apparently very disturbed and damaged by this business, do not take any action against these people. They keep paying millions to these cunning businessmen silently while they are completely overwhelmed by their influence at the same time. For instance, although nowadays Beşiktaş has a decent administration, just five years ago one of the most famous agents in the world, Jorge Mendes, came close to ruling the club. He sold dozens of outdated players to Beşiktaş before their move to China or the Arabian Peninsula and the money Beşiktaş owed him threatened the foundations of the club.
The reason why this happens is that listening to these people's amazing marketing skills and buying readymade products is much easier than building long-term plans and raising young players. Turkish football is still all about short-term success and the agents who have prepared recipes are the saviors panicked and short-sighted executives are looking for. That is why I demand strict regulations on both the clubs' financial management and the terror agents generate in Turkish football. We need to destroy the poisonous financial habitat these people benefit from, and then we can see real results.