Why TransferRoom is opening up to agents – Q&A with CEO and founder Jonas Ankersen
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Why TransferRoom is opening up to agents – Q&A with CEO and founder Jonas Ankersen
by Jonathan Rest

About 90% of member clubs are already using the Agency Feature – why? Jonas explains how it is improving relationships between clubs and agents and helping the digital marketplace work even better for everyone.

Almost all transfer deals involve agents at some stage. And some just would not get off the ground without them. So rather than ignore the issue, TransferRoom decided to tackle it head-on and find ways to help agents and clubs work together better. The Agency Feature is about empowering clubs to engage with the right agents about the right players at the right time.
Jonas Ankersen
CEO and Founder, TransferRoom

TransferRoom exists to make the transfer market more transparent and more efficient. And from the very start, we designed the platform according to the needs and wants of our member clubs.


It’s true that they often tell us that one of their biggest frustrations is the chaotic landscape of agents. Being able to contact key personnel at other clubs securely and directly, without the need for middlemen, is a fundamental feature of TransferRoom.


But agents are also key stakeholders in the market.


Almost all transfer deals involve them at some stage. And some just would not get off the ground without them. So rather than ignore the issue, TransferRoom decided to tackle it head-on and find ways to help agents and clubs work together better.


The Agency Feature is about empowering clubs to engage with the right agents about the right players at the right time.


How does the Agency Feature work?

When a club that has signed up to the feature publishes its transfer requirements on TransferRoom, these requirements are shared with clubs and with relevant agents. Trusted Agents, who have paid a fee to register players on the platform, receive an automatic notification if they have clients that fit any of the profiles the club is seeking. Those agents can then pitch the player or players to the club, sharing information such as the salary expectations. Every time a club updates its requirements, a new set of notifications is generated.


How does letting agents into the TransferRoom network help clubs? Doesn’t it just bring the same old problems of the agency world onto a new platform?

There are FOUR key issues that the Agency Feature addresses:

1. Verification – you know that the person you are dealing with has the authority to represent the player;

2. Relevance – you avoid being bombarded by agents pitching players who don’t match the profile and level you require;

3. Efficiency you can share information about your aims in the market at the touch of a button;

4. Free transfers – around 75% of deals involve out-of-contract or free agent players, whose former clubs often don’t have the time or inclination to find them a new opportunity. But agents have a vested interest in doing so.


But how will I know that an agent who contacts me IS the person authorised to act for the player?

Players verify agents through TransferRoom’s verification and approval system. Our compliance team may also carry out separate checks on the information before allowing the agent to register the player on the network.


How does the verification system work if there are multiple agents involved in representing a player?

The player will always have the final say about who represents him. We enforce a one-to-one relationship, which means a player can be registered on the system with only one agent. It is the player’s responsibility to fulfil any legal commitments he has to other agents. When it comes to striking a deal, clubs want to negotiate with the person that the player says is representing him, no-one else.


If I publish my club’s transfer requirements, what is to stop countless agents submitting players who just don’t match the brief?

This should not happen, for two reasons. Firstly, the system allows agents to pitch only players who match that position and age profile specified by the club. Secondly, TransferRoom’s player algorithm will also prevent agents proposing players who aren’t at the necessary level.


For instance, if a top five Premier League club is searching for a left back, then the agent of a player currently performing at a significantly lower level will not be able to pitch that player. This means clubs receive only relevant pitches about players who are of the right standard and profile.


How does TransferRoom save me time, money and aggravation?

The beauty of TransferRoom is that it allows decision-makers to share information with other clubs – and now agents – at the touch of a button. Instead of having to explain to individual agents by phone or email what you are looking for, you simply publish your requirements via the platform and so potentially reach hundreds of agents who might have players of interest. Then you are free to choose which pitches to follow up and which agents to speak to, whether virtually, on the phone or in person.


But what about agents seeing and sharing clubs’ sensitive information from TransferRoom?

Agents only see what clubs allow them to see – the profile of player they are looking to recruit. Agents CANNOT access information about which players a club has available for sale or loan – only other member clubs can do that.


Can I control which agents do and do not receive alerts generated by my club’s requirements?

Absolutely. The default setting is for notifications to be sent to all agents with relevant players and one potential benefit of the Agency Feature is making connections with agents, and therefore players, that might otherwise be overlooked. But clubs can revoke pitching access for specific agents at any time.


In this way clubs can create a digital network of agents they want to work with, just as they would outside the platform. Only those agents will receive information about what a club is looking for and only they will be able to pitch players that meet the requirements.


How does the Agency Feature help clubs in the free transfer market?

Even before the pandemic squeezed football’s finances, free transfers formed a large section of the market and a key part of the strategy of even the biggest clubs. This type of deal is likely only to increase in importance in the current climate.


Even the best-connected sporting director won’t know about all the players who might fit the club’s requirements without the need to pay a fee. And a player’s former club won’t usually be going out of its way to help. But an agent has a commercial interest and a duty of care (!) to find the best range of new opportunities for their client. And TransferRoom can now help to bring all parties together to the benefit of everyone.


But what if I don’t want to engage with agents on TransferRoom?

Then you don’t have to. It is a completely optional, opt-in feature. If you don’t think it will be helpful, you don’t use it. If you opt in, you can opt out again whenever you want. But most of our member clubs ARE using it. And it is available to try for free. Clubs that enable the agency feature have control over what information they share, which agents they share it with, which pitches to pursue and which to ignore.


And leading representation companies like CAA Base and Sport360 have signed up to become Trusted Agents because they see how TransferRoom can help them work smarter. We believe it really is a win-win situation for clubs AND agents because it helps both groups achieve their goals more efficiently, by giving them real-time accurate information about the market.

Find out how you can become a TransferRoom Trusted Agent
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