BARCELONA: Europe’s clubs is rejecting complaints by players’ union FIFPro that the transfer system is not fit for purpose writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The conclusion evolved out of a statistical study of the 2011-13 seasons commissioned by the European Club Association; its finding were presented at the body’s annual assembly in Barcelona.

Simplistically, the study purported to show that most transfer monies remained within the European game and, in any case, a majority of player moves – 73pc – were end-of-contract moves which did not attract a fee.

Umberto Gandini, vice-chairman of ECA, said: “We saw another study a few months ago and felt it was a little imprecise. It was not, in our opinion, correct so we decided to have our own study.

“It will be food for thought for FIFPro and we are open to discuss it with all parties involved – and we don’t see a reason why . . . FIFPro has to threaten to go to court every time there is something they don’t like.”

Agents’ fees

Gandini conceded there were certain issues which needed attention such as the high amount of monies paid to agents and an unsatisfactory implementation of the solidarity system which benefits a player’s initial clubs.

Ivan Gazidis, ceo of Arsenal, conceded that clubs bore some responsibility for the size of agents’ fees but suggested that players unions should also attack the issue in their own members’ interest.

He said: “Clearly there’s a lot of money going to agents and we, as clubs, are part of the problem but there are some unusual pressures in the system, particularly when you are dealing across jurisdictions, which mean agents have a significant degree of leverage.

“If I were a player or players union that would be a really substantial concern to me because it means my clients as a union and me as a player are losing money. Players should be making more money and some of the monies going to agents should be going to players.”

Recently the FIFPro president, Phillipe Piat, described the transfer system as “illegal” and attacked it as “an inflated and unsustainable labour market which poses an irrefutable threat to the football industry.”

The World Footballers’ Union is pursuing a legal challenge to the transfer system at the European Court of Justice.

Any other business:

— Zoran Mamic of Dinamo Zagreb has resigned the executive board and been succeeded by Peter Lawwal, the ceo of Celtic;

— the assembly confirmed full support of UEFA’s financial fair play system;

— ECA will join UEFA in studying the system for distribution of revenues from the Champions and Europa Leagues over 2015-18, with a particular concern the improve the balance between the competitions;

— ECA noted the FIFA World Cup  ‘compensation’ mechanism for the World Cup and would join the Qatar 2022 timing task force.

Main points of the transfer study

Main points of the study

The total number of international transfers made by European clubs analysed in the study was 14,322, for a total value of $5,147m. Some 66pc of these transfers (9,511) were originated by transactions within the UEFA territory. The remaining 34pc was evenly distributed between incoming and outgoing transfers with non-UEFA countries.

European clubs had a negative transfer balance vis-à-vis South America and Asia, with net disposals of respectively 59 and 342 players. This means that more players were transferred from Europe to South America and Asia than the other way around.

Such negative balance was almost entirely offset by the transfer activity with Africa with 307 net acquisitions.

In terms of value of transfers, European clubs exchanged $4,007m among them, whereas they paid $801m to non-UEFA countries and received $339m, resulting in a net transfer spend equal to $462m. Money was primarily paid to South America (€527m net spent) and received by Asia ($135m net received).

The study also focused on all the international and domestic transfers involving major five leagues’ clubs, which, during the two-year period 2011/12 and 2012/13, amounted to 5,491 for a total value of €4,853m.

Only 1,110 transfers (20pc) occurred amongst the major five leagues’ clubs, whereas 2,935 (or 54pc) were the outgoing transfers to clubs outside the major five leagues and 1,446 (or 26pc) the incoming.

The net outflow of players from major five leagues’ clubs to the other leagues was 1,489. Outgoing transfers with respective lower divisions accounted for a large part of such number, due to the large volume of players sent on loan.

Freedom of movement of players is guaranteed by the current system as out-of-contract transfers represented 73pc (or 10,431) of the total number of transfers made by European clubs (14,322).

Loans and permanent transfers represented 14pc (1,975) and 13pc (1,916) respectively.

Over the two-year review period, club agent commissions totalled $254m, representing 14.6pc of the value of the 865 transfers with which they were involved ($1,740m). The majority of those commissions, equal to $211m (or 83pc), was generated by transfers within the UEFA territory.

In conclusion, there are several indicators emerging from the Study which show that the current transfer system allows for the free movement of players and the redistribution of money from top to bottom. Thus, competitive balance seems to work but could still be improved by defining a higher level of transparency and disclosure on loans, club agent commissions and the solidarity mechanism.