NYON: Michel Platini is winding up himself and UEFA to resist attempts to halt the outlawing of third-party ownership of players writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The practice, a scourge of the game particularly in South America where owners of players virtually hold their clubs to ransom, has been declared illegal by world federation FIFA.
However clubs in Spain and Portugal have banded together to register a complaint with the European Commission that, under EU law, FIFA’s action represents a restraint of trade.
Now European federation UEFA and players’ union FIFPro (Division Europe) have launched their own counter-clam with the Commission, arguing that third-party player ownership must be illegal since “it is harmful to the interests of players, clubs and fans, and also undermines the standing and integrity of the game.”
The Football Association in England led the way in opposing the system by banning TPO after the controversy surrounding the signings by West Ham United of Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano in ??.
A statement from UEFA described TPO as “the desire and ability of so-called ‘investors’ to control and/or influence the transfer activity of players (including players who are not even aware that their ‘economic rights’ have been sold to a third party).
‘Debt and dependence’
“Third parties are driven by a simple motivation, which is to maximise the ‘return’ on their ‘stake’ in individual players.
“UEFA and FIFPro consider that this is not in the best interests of players, clubs or the game of football more generally.
“Players (including young and vulnerable players) can be exposed to the whims of third parties. In the meantime, clubs can be driven into a vicious circle of debt and dependence.”
Justifying the approach to the European Commission, UEFA added: “TPO undermines the employment relationship between clubs and players and interferes with important European Union legal norms.
“The practice is also directly contrary to the principles articulated and accepted by the European Commission itself back in 2001, when it previously conducted and concluded a far reaching investigation of the player transfer rules in Europe.
“UEFA and FIFPro therefore call on the Commission to investigate the practice of TPO and to fully endorse FIFA’s decision to prohibit such arrangements.”