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FIFPro Calls For Worldwide Third Party Ownership Ban

Fri 28th Mar 2014 | Football Governance

FIFPro, the World Footballers’ Association, has reiterated calls for a worldwide ban of Third Party Ownership (TPO), in response to comments made by UEFA President Michel Platini.

“There is no place for TPO,” FIFPro Secretary-General Theo van Seggelen stated today on his return from Astana where he attended the UEFA Congress. “Not only are the rights of the players we represent under attack, but TPO is causing serious damage to football’s global integrity.

“This is but one issue linked to the failings of the transfer system, which cripples the game’s economic structure and encourages abusive practices such as TPO.”

TPO is a part of the reason why FIFPro has a legal strategy in place to challenge the transfer system.  FIFPro does not support claims that TPO is justifiable in any market to provide clubs with the finances to compete. Rather, by removing excessive transfer fees, FIFPro is of the opinion that more clubs would be much better equipped to invest in their infrastructure, enter the labour market for top talent and help build a healthier sport.

Van Seggelen adds, “TPO is pitched as a necessary evil by shrewd business people who’ve found a way to expose the industry’s weaknesses through the insufficient regulations of a fundamentally flawed transfer system.”

“FIFA has a duty, on a global scale, to ensure there is no room for TPO to survive in any way shape or form.”


What is Third Party Ownership?

TPO is the agreement between a club and a third party (businesses and/or individuals – investment funds, agents etc) in exchange for owning a percentage, the so-called ‘economic rights’, of the future transfer (value) of the player. TPO is currently banned in England, France and Poland. It is a practice known to be widely used in South America, Spain, Portugal and parts of eastern Europe.


Why is FIFPro strongly opposed?


  • Third parties generate power to interfere with the contractual rights of the parties. Without a transfer and thereby termination of the contract, there is no financial incentive.
  • It interferes with the players’ freedom of movement as a) he will be pressured to transfer b) his destination is further triggered by third parties’ financial interests.
  • The concept of a third parties’ ownership or property interest in a person is unacceptable and lends itself to the conclusion of being a form of modern-day slavery.
  • The ownership of multiple players by outside parties without, or with an improper sporting interest creates an integrity threat
  • Third Party Ownership draws significant amounts of money out of the football industry. A recent KPMG report showcased that there is only one guaranteed winner in these deals – the third party investor, while significant money is lost and clubs are drawn into a financial dependence. It is an abuse of our industry.
  • It is a response to the growing competitive imbalance and the acceleration of budget growth required to compete internationally, as well as nationally. In that sense it regarded as a “quick fix” of the symptoms instead of reconsidering the structural deficits.

Image: REUTERS/Will Burgess

Posted by: Aaron Gourley 

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