THE NRL's 120 player-managers have been advised by the Player Agents Association not to pay their accreditation fees after two non-accredited agents negotiated deals for Sonny Bill Williams and Israel Folau.
The fact Williams's manager Khoder Nasser was seen to have negotiated the New Zealand dual international's deal with the Sydney Roosters despite not being accredited rattled the cage, as did suspended manager Isaac Moses's dealings with the NRL when Parramatta tried to lure Folau back from the AFL.
Another sore point was the NRL's desire to bring player-agent contracts in line with other football codes, which would mean players needed to provide only three months notice if they wanted to change managers.
Insight Sports chief executive Chris Fellas paid his fee despite the edict and confirmed there were issues in the agent ranks. ''The issue with Khoder Nasser and Isaac Moses makes a mockery of the accreditation system and people are asking what's the point of paying the $1500-a-year-fee,'' Fellas said.
''People wanted to know what was the point of having an accreditation system if you register a contract from an unaccredited agent. I've spoken to Paul Massey [head of the Accredited Player Agent Scheme] and the feeling is that maybe they made two mistakes on top of each other [with Williams and Folau] and that they needed to address it. I would hope the NRL does learn from the experience because [those dealings] undermine the accreditation scheme.''
However, of greater concern for the managers appeared to be the push by the NRL and the Rugby League Players' Association to bring all contracts in line with rugby union, A-League and the AFL, and allow footballers the right to terminate their agent agreement with 12 weeks notice.
Fellas, who was in the financial industry for 20 years before he became a player manager in 2011, said he favoured a system where players could move from one agent to another.
''Having said that, the agent should be paid for all services rendered,'' Fellas said. ''If you just did a three-year-deal for Ben Barba, you should be paid for the three years, but if Ben Barba wants to end his agreement with his agent after a month he should be free to go on the proviso he pays for the services he'd received.''
Fellas said his company did not lock its clients into a contract and that it was his policy to allow players to leave after even a month if they were not pleased with the service. ''But they are still liable to pay the fees for any contract we have negotiated for them,'' he said. ''A lot of agents have hidden behind long-term, lock-in contracts.''
Fellas, a member of the Player Agents Association, said he did not agree with the view of the board to instruct its members to withhold accreditation payments.
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