Air (yamair) wrote in ontd_football,
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Why Fifa are wrong over third-party ownership ban



The governing body should enforce its existing rules over the controversial player-financing practice rather than outlaw it.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter announced following this week's Executive Committee meeting in Zurich that third-party ownership would be outlawed.

There will be a normalisation period of three to four years before the practice is banned altogether. There is, however, already a line in Fifa's Regulation and Status of Players document - Article 18b.

It reads: "No club shall enter into a contract which enables any other party to that contract or any third party to acquire the ability to influence in employment and transfer-related matters its independence, its policies or the performance of its teams."

Rather than ban TPO outright, it would have been more appropriate for Fifa to regulate it better. There are other solutions and not just ones which benefit the splendidly remunerated clubs in western Europe.

There should of course be tighter control of TPO. There should be full disclosure of who is involved in the third-party ownership of every player.

An investor should be limited to a certain percentage of a particular player's rights, 50 per cent would be appropriate and also limited in the number of players in which they have a stake at any one club.

Furthermore, investors should not be permitted to take interest in a number of different clubs in the same league.

FIFPro is against TPO as it claims the practice can "interfere with the contractual rights of the parties". The international football players' union has also likened TPO to modern-day slavery where the freedom of player movement is not in his own hands.

As third-party only stands to benefit once a player is transferred, it can also be said to already and unduly influence the transfer strategies at any given club.

Third parties with staked interest in more than one player at any one club could raise questions of integrity, says FIFPro. Money, too, is siphoned out of the game and into the hands of third parties. There is an opaqueness in regard to who actually owns a player's ultimate economic rights which leads to questions of match-fixing, money laundering and so on.

It is a big, unprecedented step for Fifa which has no doubt been influenced by Uefa's repulsion of it. Michel Platini's organisation have led calls for it to be banned over the past few years and now its wish is granted. It follows that Fifa is pulling up the drawbridge to European football's elite and removing one mechanism in which the smaller clubs had been able to compete.

Brazilian teams, however, have been permitted to keep hold of players who in previous generations would have long outgrown them. That, in turn, helped to raise the overall standard of the Brasileirao to the extent that Corinthians were crowned Club World Cup champions in 2012 with plenty of players with third-party interests in tow.

It's one thing banning TPO in Europe where cashflows of clubs are better due to superior sponsorship, merchandise, television and matchday money. But in South America and less economically stable parts of the world it would be catastrophic. By releasing equity in players, clubs can give themselves a good cash injection to maintain infrastructure and pay wages.

South American players have long found their way to Europe using Portugal as a stepping stone. Those deals will no longer be possible once TPO is outlawed. As TPO spreads the risk of a transfer then clubs like Porto and Benfica, two of the prime importers of South American talent, would no longer be able to furnish the deals.

That would leave South American talents in a double bind - on one hand a tried and trusted method of reaching the European game would no longer be available while clubs in Brazil would no longer be able to sustain their ownership of emerging players. Where will the next generations of Ronaldinho, Deco and Neymar go?

Furthermore, clubs like Porto and Benfica have consistently competed well in European competition despite the gulf in funding between Portuguese teams and those in the bigger European leagues. To ban TPO would be to snuff out their challenge.
Tags: fifa
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  • Tuesday

    News Ole is setting his sights on United's…

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