A South African-based sports agency has admitted to guilt and agreed to pay a fine of over R100 000.
As confirmed in a statement issued on behalf of the Competition Commission of South Africa, Quality Talent Sports (QTS) has agreed to pay a fine of R114 168.84 after pleading guilty to charges of fixing the price of commission fees and fixing trading conditions.
In September last year, the South African Football Intermediaries Association (SAFIA) and other football intermediaries, including QTS, were referred to the tribunal for prosecution after the commission weighed in on alleged collusion among them regarding transfer fees and contracts for football players and coaches.
Until recently, Tim Sukazi has been the CEO at QTS during his days as a football agent. Sukazi recently quit the role of being a football agent, after he purchased the NFD status of Cape Town All Stars for his then ABC Motsepe League team TS Galaxy.
“For reasons of potential conflict, I’ll indeed step down in my personal involvement as a football agent. I started training good people at our agency, Quality Talent Sports, in anticipation of this step some two years ago. I have confidence in them and have no doubt that they will take the brand forward from where I would have left it off. In any event, it was going to be humanly impossible for me to be involved in both roles as running a club at a professional level is very demanding,” Sukazi told the Siya crew in a recent interview.
A statement issued by Sipho Ngwema on behalf of the Competition Commission of South Africa reads, “The Competition Commission has referred to the Competition Tribunal for confirmation as an order a consent agreement reached with Quality Talent Sports (Pty) Ltd (QTS), a sports agency representing players and coaches mainly in the Premier Soccer League.
“QTS has agreed to pay a fine of R114 168.84 (one hundred and fourteen thousand, one hundred and sixty-eight rands and eighty-four cents) after it pleaded guilty to charges of fixing the price of commission fees and fixing trading conditions.
“QTS, the South African Football Intermediaries Association (SAFIA) and 35 other football intermediaries were referred to the Tribunal for prosecution in September last year. The Commission uncovered collusion among the total of 37 accused, who negotiate transfer fees and contracts for football players and coaches.
“The investigation revealed the following, among others:
"SAFIA and its members agreed to charge soccer players and coaches a standard 10% commission fee when negotiating transfer fees and contracts on their behalf;
"They charge football players a standard 20% commission fee when negotiating commercial contracts and;
"They use SAFIA as a platform for collusion.
“In its settlement agreement with the Commission, QTS has undertaken to cooperate fully in the prosecution of the other accused companies. This includes testifying before the Tribunal, providing evidence (written or otherwise) and agreeing to refrain from engaging in cartel conduct.
“QTS has also agreed to attend a competition law compliance training programme and to make the training materials available to all employees, managers, directors and agents annually, to ensure they comply with the Competition Act.”
Competition Commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele said, “It’s encouraging to someone who owns up and undertakes to assist the investigation and prosecution, not waste our time and valuable resources. In turn, QTS has been able to negotiate a palatable settlement that takes into account the fact that they have shown remorse and regret their unlawful actions.”