On 11 April 2022 (n°2115316), the administrative tribunal of Paris recalled that a person who has been the subject of a disciplinary sanction at least equivalent to a suspension imposed by his federation for a breach of the rules of ethics, morality and deontology, cannot hold or obtain a sports agent’s licence, as provided for in Article L 222-9 of the Sports Code.
This case sheds light on the type of breach that can lead to an individual being prohibited from holding or obtaining a sports agent’s licence.
In this case, a football agent, who held an agent’s licence with the French Football Federation (hereinafter: FFF), had applied in 2017 for a provisional suspension of his licence for the purpose of acting as a manager of an amateur football club.
In 2020, in the context of disciplinary proceedings initiated against him before the FFF Disciplinary Commission, and then before the FFF Commission of Appeal, he was banned from holding a licence with the FFF for 10 years, for having sent the DNCG a false public subsidy document amounting to EUR 230,000.
In 2021, the agent asked the FFF Sports Agents Commission to lift the provisional suspension of his licence.
As part of this procedure, the FFF Commission of Agents then withdrew his licence.
The agent appealed to the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF) – whose referral is mandatory – and then to the Administrative tribunal of Paris, to challenge this decision to withdraw his licence, arguing in particular that the decision of the FFF Commission of Agents is contrary to the provisions of Article L 222-9 of the Sports Code.
In particular, the agent argued that he had not been the subject of any criminal proceedings or convictions for the acts complained of and that the disciplinary sanction notified by the FFF Commission was not intended to punish a breach of the rules of ethics, morality and deontology, determined exclusively by the Charter of Ethics and Professional Conduct for Football.
The Administrative tribunal rejected his request, noting that the agent had been banned from holding an FFF licence for ten years, a decision that had become final, as the applicant had not appealed against the decision on appeal.
The tribunal then recalled that Article L 222-9 of the Sports Code refers exclusively to persons who have been subject to a disciplinary sanction.
The administrative tribunal concluded that the ban on taking out an FFF licence was “at least equivalent to a suspension measure” and sanctioned behaviour contrary to ethics, morality and deontology, recalling that the Charte of sporting ethics appended to the FFF’s general regulations is limited to setting out the main principles and that it is up to the disciplinary bodies to qualify the facts submitted to them, the bodies having considered in this case that the communication by a manager of a false document to mislead the federation about the financial situation of his club was detrimental to the sporting interests and image of football.