England FA looking to self-regulate agents with FIFA reform to lift restrictions

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With FIFA in the final stages of scrapping their current licensing system for player agents, England is up in arms.

The Association of Football Agents (AFA) have held a meeting with FA members present to discuss how to maintain their own regulations now that

The Mirror is reporting that the AFA has contacted all 92 clubs in the English system that unlicensed agents could snatch players without the proper guidelines, something that could jeopardize both the system and the players’ well-being.

“Tapping up is bad enough now, with unlicensed individuals trying to muscle in on the business,” said AFA chairman Mel Stein. “That’s very hard to police as it is, but it will become the wild-west if FIFA’s proposal goes ahead. It will be the California Gold Rush all over again. Everybody will go in for the quick buck and the quick kill, without any thought for the wellbeing and welfare of players and clubs.”

The FA website has put up a notice informing those involved that FIFA will not be handing out an agent licensing test beginning in Spring of 2014.  Previously the qualifying exams, run by the FA, were notoriously difficult, with a 95% required to pass.

“It’s totally irresponsible of FIFA to allow an individual with no qualifications or experience to represent a player in transfer or contract negotiations – just as it would be irresponsible to allow somebody with no qualifications or experience to represent someone in court,” said Stein.

“We have written to every club from Manchester United to Accrington Stanley. We told them who we are, this is what might be happening, these are the possible consequences and what can happen moving forwards. What we are trying to do, by negotiation and discussion with the FA and all the other main stakeholders, is to get some kind of an agreement whereby there are regulations and qualifications.”

According to the Mirror report, the AFA have also contacted a lawyer who was previously involved in the famous Jean-Marc Bosman case which marked the beginning of free transfers at the expiry of contracts.

Hilarious “Friends” spoof video ‘starring’ Messi, Ronaldo (video)

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Given the rivalry surrounding the two megawatt superstars plying their trade in Spain, you may be surprised to learn that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the best of friends.

[ MORE: Top USMNT-Mexico rivalry moments ]

At least that’s what this spoof video conveys, as the Real Madrid and Barcelona stars help each other navigate tax season and toilet troubles.

Brilliant stuff, from FootbOle:

Top USMNT-Mexico moments: Looking back ahead of Saturday

PASADENA, CA - JUNE 25:  Landon Donovan #10 of United States celebrates his goal with teammates Carlos Bocanegra #3 and Alejandro Bedoya #22  against Mexico during the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup Championship at the Rose Bowl on June 25, 2011 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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You could argue its the biggest match between the U.S. and Mexico outside of the 2002 World Cup’s Round of 16, and there would be few arguments against you.

The United States and Mexico will tangle on Saturday at the Rose Bowl, with the winner advancing to the 2017 Confederations Cup finals in Russia.

It’s only so often that these rivals match up in a “do or die” match. Sure World Cup qualifiers carry critical import, but they don’t always become the decisive moment in the qualifying cycle.

[ MORE: Spurs’ teen shining at center back for U.S. U-23s ]

Aside from the aforementioned World Cup match and the first match in the rivalry — see 1934 below — no other match has carried as much international weight as Saturday.

So with anticipation high, let’s dance backward in time to the Yanks’ best moments in the rivalry. And let’s also imagine what would have to happen to put Saturday in the mix.

(Of course, our apologies to Mexican fans. We aren’t including the times you slapped American soccer in the face).

2001, 2005, 2009, 2013 — “Dos a Cero” to the fourth power

There is no more celebrated score line in USMNT history than the 2-0 hurting it put on Mexico in four successive home World Cup qualifiers.

2002 — World Cup Round of 16

Goals from Brian McBride and Landon Donovan prodded an upset of the world’s then-No. 7 ranked nation, as the USMNT carried a feel of destiny through its best World Cup.

1934 — World Cup qualifier

Aldo Donnelli scored all four goals as the States won the first recorded match against Mexico, and it was a big one. The winner would go on to the 1934 tournament in Italy, while the loser would go on a tour of European friendlies. The States won, and wouldn’t win again until the qualifiers for the 1982 tournament.

2012 — First win at Azteca

It may’ve been a friendly, but Michael Orozco’s finish will go down as the Yanks’ first ever winner in the fortress of Mexico City.

1980 — World Cup qualifier

Though it meant little to the Yanks’ fate in the 1982 tournament — the U.S. finished last in a group with Mexico and Canada — it was the first win over El Tri in 46 years.