FIFA backs transfer market reform: Liverpool to play in Qatar

3 June 2019

FIFA headquarter
Photo: Getty Images FIFA seek to create a system by centralising and simplifying all payments associated with player transfers. On Monday a new step was taken towards a new regime.

FIFA Council back transfer reforms. First step to “Bank of FIFA”?

Club World Cup to be hosted in Qatar in 2019 and 2020.

James Corbett corbett@offthepitch.com

PARIS - FIFA’s ruling council has backed initial reforms of the transfer market that may bring its ultimate control under world football’s governing body.

Meeting in Paris on Monday, its 36 member Council agreed to endorse principles agreed upon by its Football Stakeholders Committee last Autumn that sought to create a “clearing house” to process transfers with the aim of “protecting the integrity of football and avoiding fraudulent conduct.”

Under the proposals FIFA seek to create a system by centralising and simplifying all payments associated with player transfers.

These encompass solidarity, training compensation, agents’ commissions and transfer fees. It has also endorsed the mandatory introduction of an electronic transfer system at national level following the model in place for international transfers – the Transfer Matching System (TMS).

Clearing House

As part of these reforms FIFA has offered all its member associations, free of charge, the domestic transfer system (DTMS) for the online management of their national transfers, and the FIFA Connect platform for the electronic registration of all players at national level.

Last Autumn FIFA’s Football Stakeholders’ Committee laid out the need for ‘”New and stronger regulations for agents to be established with agreement on the principle of introducing compensation and representation restrictions, payment of agents’ commissions through the clearing house and licensing and registration of agents through the Transfer Matching System.”

Although FIFA did not publish more details today, the endorsement of this proposal may ultimately lead to the so-called “Bank of FIFA” – a clearing house for all international transfer business.

In April FIFA’s new director of legal affairs, Emilio García Silvero, said the body was seeking to establish its own bank as it seeks to bring regulation to the international transfer market.

Regulate the loan system

The proposal, Silvera said, was an attempt to ultimately regulate the entire flow of money that moves in a player transfer.

FIFA also gave the green light to the regulation of the regulation of the transfer loan system. This should, FIFA said, benefit “the purpose of youth development as opposed to commercial exploitation.” 

“The number of loans per season and between each club shall be limited and bridge transfers and sub-loans shall be prohibited,” it added.

FIFA said in a statement that the “the seven-team competition will serve as valuable test events in the build-up to the FIFA World Cup 2022.

The moves by the world governing body pre-empt the efforts of the UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin to regulate the loan system. Speaking at the weekend Ceferin said that UEFA was considering “Limitation of the squads… forbidding or limiting the loans.”

Club World Cup in Qatar

The FIFA Council also confirmed – in the teeth of widespread misreporting on the matter that it has been cancelled – that the Club World Cup will take place in Qatar in 2019 and 2020, ahead of a test event for an expanded competition in 2021 at an as yet undesignated location – to be decided in October.

The tournament will include newly crowned European champions, Liverpool, CAF Champions ES Tunis, New Caledonia’s Hienghène Sport of Oceania, the Qatar champions Al Sadd, plus the still to be decided Asian, Concacaf and Conmebol champions.

FIFA said in a statement that the “the seven-team competition will serve as valuable test events in the build-up to the FIFA World Cup 2022, even more so since their timing – usually around early December – corresponds with that of the next FIFA World Cup, allowing for testing under similar climatic conditions.”