Lost in Bureaucracy
Most people still view football as a sport, I being one; however, I cannot deny that football is also an industry with background rules to adhere to, and possibly soon, more legislation to regulate the interested parties of this industry.
Within the last month we have come to understand that the first real challenge to UEFA’s FFPR (financial fair play regulations) will come from a football agent (Daniel Striani) claiming a possible restriction of trade.
It’s difficult to understand this viewpoint, as I have pointed out before there are thousands of FIFA registered agents as well as thousands of nationally registered football agents and lawyers within the game.
However most agents actually struggle to break into the industry on a full-time basis and work with a select few clients on a part-time basis if they are lucky enough. This is due to the closed nature of the industry and the small fact that 60% of all footballers are registered with a small select group of agents/agencies.
So I ask a valid question, how an agent can claim restriction of trade when one already exists due to a kind of monopoly? This is an anti-competitive side to the footballing industry no matter how you look at it.
He (Daniel Striani) also claims that FFPR will “lock in” the current top sides, into an unbreakable elite of European football. However what he is asking the ECJ (European court of Justice) to do is maintain the status quo for the agents within this monopoly, exactly what he is preaching against.
It makes you wonder if he has truly thought this through! He also claims a risk to his ability to earn money from a players’ playing contracts and transfer fees due to the possibility that fewer transfers will occur because football clubs are being encouraged to only spend what they earn.
So he is actually highlighting the parasitical nature of some agents in the sense that he wishes they can be allowed to operate at a loss, whether loaning money from banks or from private investment from an owner.
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Further, UEFA wants to ban, outright, any and all forms of TPPO (third party player ownership). Again this could be viewed as a restriction on a person’s ability to trade.
On average in Europe the agencies take £400 million out of the game every year and this figure is only for that which the agents have acted as intermediaries and not through the profiting of TPPO’s (that figure is unknown) although we do know that in 2011 over £3b (three billion pounds) was spent world-wide on acquiring footballers to new contracts.
Only since the implementation of TMS (transfer matching system) in 2009 do we have a record of a player’s TPPO contract at the time of transfer, during a player’s playing contract the clubs that can (as is allowed by National association rules), still sell portions of his economic/transfer rights without divulging this information.
Although for FFPR purposes the amounts cannot be added to their accounts until the players registration has been permanently transferred, and we only find out how much the buying club has had to pay to outside investors once a deal is done and logged on TMS, and this, only when the transfer happens across international borders.
UEFA are serious about banning TPPO’s but also understand that an adjustment period will be needed, especially in Portugal, Spain and Italy where this form of ownership has been rife for many years. It is a system that has kept some clubs competitive when they have been badly guided or managed by their owners. But that has occurred quite often with various agents and agencies behind the owners promising honours and financial rewards that have (inevitably) failed to materialise for the clubs.
This form of ownership breeds instability within a team sport and makes a club dependent on this model. UEFA has demanded that FIFA investigate this matter and take the lead in banning TPPO’s but as yet FIFA have only commissioned studies. UEFA has promised to take the lead and ban TPPO’s across Europe if FIFA doesn’t act soon.
In FIFA’s defence they have to look at the global picture and take into consideration the impact such rules could have on individual associations that rely heavily on the TPPO model.
Indeed Brazilian football is in a complete mess with the majority of players owned by investment groups outside of the official footballing community, so in effect the clubs are powerless as they don’t own a players economic rights, they only hold the registration with the national association for the player.
And this is where the private scouting networks (financed by agents/investors) come into play, doing their jobs very effectively and identifying talent at an early stage, signing them up to employment contracts (which the clubs cannot afford) and helping with their development of the players and agents/investors benefit but to the registered clubs’ detriment.
The career paths of these targeted players are mapped out using tried and tested methods to get them over to Europe and into the bigger paying leagues. The unsettling circumstances within this movement of sports people can be traced mostly to old colonial trade routes, which should need no further explaining. Indeed I find it very disturbing that our past is still so very evident within sport.
Michel Platini recently said “What I can’t understand is when players in Brazil and Argentina don’t belong to a club, but they belong to people instead. It means that, instead of going into sport, the (transfer) money goes to people.
“That is not logical. It is not human that people should belong to other people who sell them off”.
As the man states, the whole objective of being an investor in TPPO’s is to take money from the industry that football has shamefully become. Furthermore the president of UEFA promised that “We will make the law against that for the whole of UEFA, If FIFA does not take any measures then we will take them in Europe.”
Quite how this is panning out, we shall see in the next instalment.
28 May Anniversaries
- 28 May 1934: George Allison becomes manager of Arsenal
- 28 May 1937: Reg Lewis first senior appearance in friendly v Copenhagen
- 28 May 1976: Jimmy Rimmer makes only appearance for England
- 49; a real Arsenal number, but less is better.
- Match Review: Mike Dean – Arsenal Vs Wigan Athletic ( – ) [14/05/2013]
The most detailed study of Premier League Refs ever:The referees 2013.
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal FC: crowd behaviour at the early matches
The sites from the same team…
- Referee Decisions – just what are the refs up to this season?
- The Arsenal History Blog from the AISA Arsenal History Society