FIFA hopes to move transfers online

FIFA legal director Marco Villiger said Wednesday the web-based system would allow FIFA to check every international transfer payment. In time, the system could also function as a resource for clubs to see which players are on the market.

The governing body already set up an online database last year to match transfer documents from clubs involved in a transaction, a first step in curbing financial corruption and stopping cross-border deals involving minors.

But a global transfer payment system would strengthen the ability to make sure all deals are done by the book, curtailing abuse by agents and fraudulent clubs making excessive and illegal profits. Making it easier for clubs and players to deal with one another directly would also limit the impact of agents.

“We see there is a lot of abuse, pressure put on players,” Villiger said, referring to agents. On top of that, he said, “there is a lot of money which leaves the system” when agents claim excessive fees.

A FIFA working group is considering new player agent rules that would cap their fees on transfers.

“Fair is perhaps between 2 and 3 percent or a cap of 2 million (dollars),” Villiger said.

There have been more than 10,000 international transfers since the last World Cup. Some total in the tens of millions of dollars, making for a vast and lucrative market for a few specialized agents.

FIFA at first sought to regulate the agents by approving licenses but said the system was inefficient since about 70 percent of transfers were still overseen by unlicensed agents. Now, FIFA is looking for a new system to have more control over the agents.

One option would be to let clubs use the data collected by the web-based transfer system to search for available players. By charging a fee for such data mining, FIFA could also recoup some of the money needed to run such a system, Villiger said.

He stressed, however, that the idea was still in its initial stage, and the main purpose was to provide a clear, legal and transparent transfer market.

“It is an integrity tool,” Villiger said. “It is not a money machine. It is not there to make money,”.


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