Players and club officials have been warned to be cautious when signing personal contracts as they may be heavily penalised by FIFA, the sport's world governing body. However, it is believed local club officials have found loopholes in the FIFA regulations to avoid punishment. According to FIFA regulations governing players' agents, promulgated on May 20, 1994, players and clubs are entitled to use the services of an adviser, or players' agent, to represent them or safeguard their interests in negotiations with other players or clubs. But the adviser must be in possession of a licence issued by FIFA or by his national associations, or be a close relative of the player, or a registered solicitor. In the event that a player uses the services of an unauthorised agent, he will face a heavy penalty by FIFA including a fine of up to $265,000 and disciplinary suspension of up to 12 months. Any club negotiating with an unqualified agent is liable to a fine of up to $530,000, interdiction to carry out national and/or international transfers, and a ban on all national and/or international footballing activity. Any action taken by a club in breach of the regulations would be declared null and void. Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) general secretary Vincent Yuen said all parties, especially the players, should pay extreme attention that they do not violate FIFA's regulations. 'The HKFA have not approved any licensed agent so far. We have heard that there have been players signing personal contracts,' said Yuen. 'But we cannot do anything because we don't know whether those contracts really exist unless we have seen them. 'Players or club officials should be very careful when they sign any contract. And players should only sign club contracts, which are the only types of contracts recognised by the HKFA.' Many of the players are believed to have signed personal contracts with club bosses, who are swapping clubs in a game of First Division musical chairs. While the HKFA are unable to find evidence, some local club officials have found loopholes in the regulations to avoid penalty. The controversy over personal contracts arose yesterday after both Instant-Dict director Ken Ng and Lam Tai-fai, who is set to join Happy Valley next season, claimed they had the signature of Uhlsport-Rangers midfielder Yiu Hok-man. Ng told the press yesterday he had submitted a club contract, signed by the 19-year-old Yiu, to the HKFA and therefore Yiu would be an Instant-Dict player in the new season. But this contradicts what Lam claimed last night. 'Lam, as the Rangers chairman, signed an agreement on April 15 to allow Yiu to join any other club after June 30, though Yiu has earlier signed a personal contract to follow him to Valley next season,' said Ng. 'It's because of this April 15 agreement that we [Instant-Dict] signed a two-year contract with Yiu, effective from July 1 until June 30, 1999.' But Yuen said the HKFA's legal adviser had been examining the Dickies' contract and it had yet to be ratified. Lam, on the other hand, insisted his personal contract with Yiu was still valid since Yiu had signed a labour contract with one of his companies, not with Lam himself. 'According to our contract, Yiu is not only my player but also my company's employee,' claimed Lam, who refused to disclose the name and nature of his company. 'I can assign any job for him, no matter whether it be in my company or my soccer team. 'But if he wants to work for other companies or parties, he needs my consent. My company has also signed some other players in the same way,' said Lam. Lam earlier said he had signed at least eight Rangers players, including former national midfielder Wu Yiu-kwok and young striker Kwok Man-tik. Lam added he would ask Yiu to sign a club contract with Valley soon. However, Yiu, if he signs with Valley, will face serious punishment for signing with two clubs at one time - if the club contracts with both Instant-Dict and Valley are legally binding.