ZURICH: Five South American clubs have been punished by FIFA for cheating international transfer rules writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The world federation devised its computerised transfer matching system to bring order to the wild west of the market.

Buying and selling clubs must provide ‘mirror’ information about a player’s purchase and sale to secure the all-important international transfer certificate.

But clubs in South America, concerned to evade controls on third party ownership and agents’ conflict of interest, have been trying to circumvent the system.

The punishments were notified a day after the European Club Association expressed concern about clubs capitalising on TMS inefficiencies over full distribution of ‘solidarity’ payments to players’ junior clubs.

In the South American cases, FIFA’s disciplinary committee has punished Uruguayan club Institución Atlética Sud América and Argentina’s Central Córdoba, Independiente, Racing and Rosario Central.

The clubs were found to have employed so-called ‘bridge transfers’ which involve collusion to sell players from one club to another via a third club for which he never plays.

This latest case follows investigations into six transfers in 2012.

The clubs were found to be “in breach of the pertinent regulations and of misusing TMS for illegitimate purposes.”

‘Bad faith’

FIFA added: “The transfers of players to the Argentinean clubs were conducted via Institución Atlética Sud América for reasons that were not of a sporting nature.

“All six players were transferred to the Uruguayan club for extremely short periods of time and never actually played for Institución Atlética Sud América before being transferred to one of the Argentinian clubs.

“The FIFA disciplinary committee concluded that the clubs acted in bad faith by deliberately conducting transfers for non-sporting purposes and using TMS in order to justify the transactions.

“In five of the six transfers, the players were first transferred on the basis of a loan. After a very short period of time, the loan agreements were rescinded and the transfers became permanent.

“The clubs involved failed to reflect this change in TMS in relation to the type of transfer (provisional or permanent basis) when the loan agreements were rescinded.”

The punishments were as follows:

— Institución Atlética Sud América received a transfer ban for two complete and consecutive transfer periods as well as a fine of 40,000 Swiss francs and a warning as to its future conduct;

— Central Córdoba and Independiente were both warned and fined 50,000 Swiss francs;

— Rosario Central were warned and fined 20,000 Swiss francs; and

— Racing Club were warned and fined 15,000 Swiss francs.

What is TMS?

FIFA TMS, founded as a FIFA subsidiary in 2007, established a compliance programme in 2010 to ensure that all international transfers of professional football players are conducted through TMS in accordance with the Regulations, and to control the integrity of club behaviour and data in TMS. Violations of the Regulations, in particular Annexe 3, are identified and investigated by the FIFA TMS Integrity and Compliance Department. Certain cases, where applicable, are then forwarded to the FIFA Disciplinary Committee for decision. The FIFA TMS Integrity and Compliance Department monitors transfer activity using internally developed market intelligence, external sources and information received from the FIFA Players’ Status & Governance and Disciplinary & Governance departments.

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