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Soccer agents scoff at price fixing allegations

By Daniel Mothowagae and Tiyani wa ka Mabasa | 2017-10-13 07:56:07.0

South African football agents have scoffed at the Competition Commission following the regulatory body's announcement that they face prosecution for allegedly fixing the commission they charge players and coaches.

Renowned agents Jazzman Mahlakgane, Mike Makaab and Glyn Binkin were not keen to comment but referred Sowetan to a statement in which they responded to the threats by the commission.

"There has been no price fixing by Safia or its members, consumers were never forced to pay a particular price without an effort of adding value," said the SA Football Intermediaries Association (Safia), which represents domestic agents.

The competition commission accused Safia of using their organisation, founded two years ago, "as a platform for collusion" to charge a 10% commission.

"Transactions are based on variables and will vary from one transaction to another ... agents all over the world have been charging 10% for decades, which clearly demonstrates that Safia was not set up in order to collude and price fix," Safia argued.

Abbie Rasimphi, who looks after the business interests of Thabo Matlaba (Orlando Pirates) and Lucky Mohomi (Mamelodi Sundowns) among his high-profile clients, said: "I don't remember us colluding that we want 10%."

Rasimphi's Liberate Resources Management is among the 36 Safia members who have been hauled before the tribunal which seeks an order to hold each agency liable for a fine.

"There's no team that stood on the mountain saying they have given Liberate 10% or whatever fee. Whatever they [teams] give you, you take it because all you want is for your player to go and play.

"We spend more than R500000 buying players soccer boots every season.

"So who's paying me for that? We also go out to look for players, so it's not like we pluck them from the top of trees. We spend money," Rasimphi told Sowetan yesterday.

"Our legal team is busy with this matter so we will go and defend our businesses. We are not criminals ."

Tim Sukazi of Quality Talents Sports said: "The matter is sub judice, it is only proper for one not to comment."

He represents Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela and top players such as Mulomowandau Mathoho (Chiefs) and Rivaldo Coetzee (Sundowns).

Two years ago, Safia interdicted the SA Football Assocciation from slashing agents' commission by 70%.

At the time, the agents' legal representative had argued that the 3% cap, from 10%, was unconstitutional.

The commisson's investigation on Safia started in Dcember 2015.

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