FIFPro; an organization which represents over 65000 football players across the globe. An organization which wants to abandon the current transfer system because of the fees creating a loss of competitiveness in the game. These plans to dismantle the current structure we have in place may sound ludicrous and eccentric but the reasons behind it don’t seem incredibly negative from the fans point of view. The union believes it needs a radical overhaul due to the gap between the world’s richest clubs and the ones scraping the bottom of the barrel in which FIFPro president Philippe Piat described as ‘modern slavery’. They have claimed the transfer system infringes the European competition law.
If you look at the loss of competitiveness claim from FIFPro, you have to see they are making a valid point. A small handful of clubs from Europe’s ‘top leagues’ (Barcelona, Real Madrid, FC Bayern etc) can afford the current astronomical prices for the world’s best players. This creates a conclusion; an elite team is most likely to dominate Europe’s competitions. Why can’t we see Nottingham Forest competing in the Champions League? Red Star Belgrade lifting it once again like they did in 1991? A team from the bottom of the Bundesliga locking horns with Bayern and the big boys? Because of the financial power from the top clubs, at least this is what FIFPro strongly agree with and I understand the point completely. What a sight it would be to see Red Star lift the cup again. The world’s best players are also being concentrated into certain leagues, most of them being the top leagues in Spain, France, Germany, England and Italy. This creates a feeder club status for the big clubs, which used to be considered European giants, like Benfica and Ajax because they can’t compete with the finances of those in the ‘elite’ status.
FIFPro secretary-general Theo van Seggelen said, “we believe that it is possible in smaller countries to have an attractive national competition and that balance has to be there, otherwise in a couple of years we will only have 30 clubs in the world, and nobody wants that.”
“If the agents are going to decide where a player is going to play because a club will give him €20m, that is a problem we have to tackle,” he said. “That is why we have to put restrictions on the intermediary fees. Otherwise you will create another problem. We have already thought about that.
“You have to think about squad size limits – you can’t have a Manchester City squad with 60 players – and we have to forbid the loan system. It’s logical. And get rid of the agent fees. Those are the points we have to think about.”
FIFPro believe that without the transfer market and the fees, football would turn to a normal labour market. They also believe the players are being used as pawns in a big game of financial chess between major clubs. A normal labour market means that players would have a better chance of finding a club that suits their style, language and culture better because the transfer fee will not determine the move. FIFPro claim that if agent fees were based on player salaries and not transfer fees, then they would find a club for a player and keep him there for as long as possible. However, I think this has a loophole. If this was the case, then surely they would just try and find a club who are offering more wages so they get more money? I think there is always a way for the agents to squeeze money out of a situation.
If FIFPro win this legal battle then this could cause a serious change within football, just like the Bosman Ruling did 30 years ago. The Bosman ruling was a decision which banned restrictions on foreign EU players in national leagues. It also allowed players to move from their current club to another club at the end of their contract without a transfer fee being exchanged.
Not only do they plan on abandoning the transfer system, they want to ditch the loan system also along with restrictions on squad sizes. The Commission could reportedly take up to 12 months to reach the outcome but could then also take an extra two years to create a set of rules and actually implement them.