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Player agents to be put under the microscope

Matt Thompson  December 15, 2012 12:03 AM

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After Ricky Nixon's suspension and the Kurt Tippett contract scandal, player agents face tougher scrutiny

PLAYER agents are facing tighter restrictions as the AFL Players' Association continues its investigation into Kurt Tippett's manager Peter Blucher.

The AFLPA executive has voted in favour of enhanced regulations, which had already been in the works in the wake of the Ricky Nixon affair.

The new rules cover a range of areas including:
- the accreditation process
- increased power to deal with managers who breach rules
- contractual information agents must provide to players
- professional development

"The board ratified a new set of regulations that govern player agents, which raised the bar in that regard," AFLPA chief executive Matt Finnis told AFL.com.au.

The ramifications of Kurt Tippett's controversial contract with the Adelaide Crows made the responsibility of agents a hot topic at the AFLPA's annual conference held in Melbourne on Friday.

"There was a lot of interest today in relation to how the association will deal with the investigation around Peter Blucher and I think the players consider it a very serious matter."

The Blucher inquiry is well underway and he is facing the prospect of losing his agent's licence.

A variety of other topics were addressed at the conference, including the illicit-drugs policy, free agency and players co-operating with AFL investigations.

The managers were mixed when it came to the length of the main free agency period, which lasted three weeks in its first year.

While some considered it too long, others argued the time was needed because some players were overseas and medical tests could take time.

"We talked about the length of that free agency period, we're continuing to look at that in conjunction with player managers," Finnis said.

Finnis noted that contracts can't be signed during the season, so a fair period of time is required to allow players to conduct sufficient negotiations.

While Melbourne's delegates expressed no concerns about the ongoing tanking investigation, players were reminded of their rights.

"We certainly discussed the nature of the AFL investigations, players understanding the processes and rights in those investigations," Finnis said.

Matt Thompson is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow him on Twitter @Matt Thompson