By Frans de Weger
FIFA is thinking about reforming the existing transfer market system.
That is what FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in a recent interview with ESPN. The reforms would have an impact on several aspects of the current system, varying from rules with regard to training compensation to the length and moment of the transfer window. Infantino stated that, in 2017, $6.4 billion dollars were spent on transfers. This is double the amount of just five years ago.
Infantino added that, at the same time, in 2017, the commission fees paid to agents increased as well, to more than $500 million dollars. Compared to that, $60 million dollars were paid to clubs in training compensation and solidarity payments.
Training compensation and solidarity payments are paid to clubs, when a player makes a transfer and has played for a club between the age of 12 until he becomes professional. Every club that the player has played for is entitled to a portion of any transfer fee until the player turns 23. This is the situation under the existing rules. It seems that there is no effective enforcement mechanism, as clubs do not always receive those payments, especially the smaller clubs.
“A solution would be to have, for example, a five percent fee that has to be paid for solidarity and training compensation,” Infantino said. The payment could, for example, be transferred to a central account and then FIFA, or the confederations, would have to make sure that clubs receive the money to which they are entitled.
With regard to the commissions paid to agents and intermediaries, Infantino states that the current problems are a result of the lack of rules. “Anyone can do what he wants, there are no rules in place. Many agents agree with me and would like more transparency and oversight.”
Infantino is happy with the decision of the Premier League to shorten the summer transfer window. This summer, the transfer window will close on the Thursday before the start of the new season. “It makes sense when you start the season to know what your squad is and that you play the season with your squad. Changes from one week to another shouldn’t be possible.” Infantino stated that it would make more sense to close the transfer window in July, rather than August, but also said that a winter transfer window would still be needed.
Another concern is the great gap between the bigger and smaller clubs. It seems that, more and more, there is a concentration of wealth amongst a select group of teams and leagues. “It’s important to bring in some sporting rules such as squad size limits and limitations on loan players. We also need to look into homegrown player rules to find a competitive balance” remarked Infantino.
With the pronouncements of Infatino, it seems that a big reform of the transfer market system is at hand in the coming period. It will be interesting to see how this will happen and what the effects will be.
Frans de Weger may be contacted by e-mail at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’