International transfer market of players: what’s next ?

Conference Sport Intergroup – European Parliament  – June 27th 2017

On June 27 the European Parliament’s Sport Intergroup held its last conference before the resumption in September. The theme was in all respects sporting news, as it dealt with the transfer of players at international level.

This conference was organized in two parts; the first part focused on “managing the development of young players through sustainable financing of training and coaching”; the second focused on the new ideas that could be brought on the subject and the potential improvements.

As recalled by MEP Santiago Fisas, Co-Chair of Sport Intergroup, “Europe is the biggest transfer market in the world”. On the basis of this assumption, it is necessary to establish mechanisms of solidarity at all levels, and in particular between clubs and players, especially the younger ones.

Ornella Désirée Bella, Head of Legal Affairs at European Professional Football Leagues, reminded the audience about the existence of specific rules concerning the transfer of underaged players. If there are exceptions to these rules, the spirit remains the same, it is necessary to ensure the protection of minor players and to provide them a stable environment. She then stressed numerous past situations where promises were made to youngsters to play in major clubs before finally abandoning them in poverty. Now, to the exception of a few exceptions, the standard is the age of the player, he must be 18 years old.

Leander Monbaliu, lecturer at International Football Business Institute, emphasized on the rule of training compensation. This compensation system must encourage the training of young people and their development while allowing the training club to benefit from financial compensation for the years during which it has trained it.

The second part of the event was the opportunity to discuss ideas that could make the transfer market evolve. Tony Higgins, European Division Vice President of FifPro said players are sometimes very affected by transfers; many transfers are made without their consent indeed and clubs decide to have them signed elsewhere. In addition, many players are sometimes not paid or are bullied or blackmailed. We must find solidarity between players and clubs.

Besides this solidarity, it is necessary to regulate the system. According to Roberto Branco Martins, managing director of European Football Agents Association, it is necessary to better regulate the system of training compensation and to guarantee a better protection of the minors and the players, it is also necessary to pay more attention to the agents of players. If in some countries the practice is framed, in others, everyone can declare himself a player agent; The consequences can be dramatic for the young players according to the intentions of the agent. It also needs more stability.

David Frommer, senior adivsor at European Club Association, stressed that the transfer system can be improved by introducing special measures for young players in relation to players’ agents. According to him, the system must evolve; It is necessary to reduce the gap between small & big clubs with regard in particular to the redistribution of TV rights.

The international transfer market is a complex system with significant economic stakes. If there are many rules relating to minors, financial compensation … the fact remains that many challenges are still to be tackled. The system must evolve, transform itself to solve the existing problems.

Sport et citoyenneté