The South African Football Intermediaries Association (Safia) and 36 members of the body representing soccer agents have been referred by the Competition Commission for prosecution by the Competition Tribunal in relation to price fixing.
In a media statement released on Tuesday, the commission said: "A commission investigation has revealed the following:
"Safia and its members agreed to charge soccer players and coaches a standard 10% commission fee when negotiating and concluding‚ on their behalf‚ new contracts‚ transfer contracts and renewal contracts with football clubs;
"They also charge football players and coaches a standard 20% commission fee when negotiating and concluding‚ on their behalf‚ new commercial contracts and renewal of those contracts with sponsors; and
"They use Safia as a platform for collusion.
"In referring the matter to the tribunal for prosecution‚ the commission is seeking an order declaring that Safia and its members contravened the Competition Act. The commission also wants Safia and its members to cease from engaging in this conduct and similar conduct in future."
The commission’s communications head, Sipho Ngwema, said the fixing of a commission rate at any level was against the notion of competition.
"It’s not just that. Remember it didn’t come naturally that they did that‚" Ngwema said.
"They sat together and agreed as competitors. So that’s where the problem comes in terms of competition.
"When parties are supposed to be competing‚ and say you and I were agents‚ our rates when we approached clubs or players should not be the same. It’s fixing," he said.
The commission’s statement said that in May 2015, the South African Football Association (Safa) — acting on instructions from Fifa — sought to regulate football agents‚ including to reduce the 10% commission to 3%. Safia blocked this attempt through a court interdict.
"In July 2015‚ the commission received a complaint from Safia against Safa. Safia alleged that the 3% cap introduced by Safa constitutes fixing of an agent’s fee in contravention of the Competition Act.
It said the commission launched an investigation against Safia and its members in December 2015.
Leading agents‚ including Safia’s apparent spokesman Glyn Binkin and Prosport International’s Mike Makaab‚ could not be reached for comment.
Tim Sukazi of Quality Talent Sports would only say: "I reserve my comment as the matter is sub judice."