'Groundbreaking' Fifa transfer reforms clear first hurdle

The proposals came from a task force set up by Infantino 

The proposals came from a task force set up by Infantino 

FIFA stakeholders have backed ‘groundbreaking’ transfer reforms that include a limit on the number of loans teams can make.

As TGG reported 10 days ago, a Fifa task force recommended that clubs be limited to loaning six to eight players per season, because the current system can result in “stockpiling” and “sometimes prevents young players from fully developing their talent”.

The internal report, commissioned by President Gianni Infantino as part of his commitment to reform the transfer system, also recommended that clubs be permitted to make just three loans to or from the same club in a season.

Chelsea currently have 40 players out on loan. Between 2013/14 and 2017/18 they loaned players to 87 clubs, with 17 going to Vitesse Arnhem alone during that period.

The wide-ranging proposals were ratified by the Fifa Football Stakeholders Committee - comprising representatives from clubs, leagues, players, member associations, confederations and the Fifa administration - at a meeting in London yesterday.

They will now go before the Fifa Council at its next meeting in Kolkata, India, on October 26th for final approval.

The key points to be endorsed by the stakeholders were:

  • Creation of a 'clearing house' to process transfers with the aim of protecting the integrity of football and avoiding fraudulent conduct. It will "ensure the good functioning of the system by centralising and simplifying the payments associated with transfers such as solidarity, training compensation, agents’ commissions and, potentially, transfer fees".
  • Mandatory introduction of an electronic transfer system at national level following the model in place for international transfers as well as of a domestic electronic registration system.
  • 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.
  • Development of the regulation of loans for the purpose of youth development as opposed to commercial exploitation. The number of loans per season and between each club shall be limited. Bridge transfers and sub-loans shall be prohibited.
  • Solidarity contributions to apply to domestic transfers with an 'international dimension'.

Infantino said: “We have brought everyone to the table and all key actors of the industry have understood that we need to take action, leading today to this reform proposal.

“This is a significant first step towards achieving greater transparency, the effective enforcement of rules that will deliver millions in solidarity payments to clubs, and developing a consensus on how to tackle the issue of agents, loans and other key aspects of the transfer system.”

Vittorio Montagliani, chairman of the Football Stakeholders Committee, added: “Everyone has contributed in a productive way to the discussions, understanding that this is a crucial matter for the good of football. It has allowed us to reach a broad consensus around a set of reform proposals.”

Dan Chapman, Head of Sports and Employment Teams at Leathes Prior, said: “Whilst some of the above does not look likely to be controversial - in the UK at least, a clearing house system has been in use for some time - there is no doubt that clubs will be keen to understand what the new loan rules may be and agents will be extremely anxious to learn what ‘new and stronger’ regulations will mean.

“Crucially, there is no indication at this stage as to the likely timescale of the introduction of any new regulations. So watch this space.”

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