ASTANA: Players contracted to clubs under third-party ownership risk being barred from European club and national team competitions writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

European federation UEFA stepped up its opposition to the concept, common in South America, at its 60th anniversary congress in Astana, Kazakhstan.

UEFA president Michel Platini did not refer precisely to a playing bar from Champions League and Europa League but he left little room for other options.

Platini said: “Everything that concerns TPO shld be implemented on all players throughout the world [by] FIFA. But, if it’s not FIFA, then UEFA will take care of it through UEFA competitions. But my wish is for this to be addressed by FIFA so it can cover all contracted players in the entire world.”

National action

He said that no decision had yet been taken on sanctions and that an adjustment period of up to four years – as with financial fair play – would be decreed “so players can regularise their position.”

He noted that various federation presidents sat on the UEFA executive committee so he hoped action against TPO would “trickle down to their national associations.”

Earlier, in his president’s address to congress, Platini had expounded further on his opposition to TPO, “a problem which particularly worries me.”

He said: “I have been constantly warning for years that this practice, which is becoming increasingly widespread, is a danger to our sport. It threatens the integrity of our competitions, damages football’s image, poses a long-term threat to clubs’ finances and even raises questions about human dignity.

No freedom

“When I was a player, I went on strike because players belonged to their clubs and therefore failed to enjoy real freedom.

“Today players are certainly not the property of their clubs but something worse is happening instead. Increasingly, players are owned by opaque companies based in tax havens and controlled by some unknown agent or investment fund.

“Quite simply, some players are no longer in control of their own sporting careers and are transferred each year to generate revenue for anonymous individuals who just want to get their hands on some of the money in football.

“We will address this issue in our own competitions in Europe. The UEFA executive committee has already adopted a position on this issue in principle, and we will see this through.”