Brussels roundtable a great success
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Representatives from FIFA travelled to Brussels on Tuesday for a roundtable meeting aimed at providing journalists with an update on projects and activities of EU relevance.

During an hour-long presentation, FIFA’s Director of Legal Affairs Marco Villiger outlined FIFA’s activities to protect and regulate the game, touching on a number of football governance-related topics such as the international transfer system, the protection of minors, the players’ agents systems and the fight against match-fixing.

Highlighting the advantages of FIFA’s web-based transfer matching system (TMS), which was made mandatory for all international transfers of professional male players in October 2010, Villiger said: “Once you’re familiar with the system, you can carry out a transfer in two minutes. You can agree the criteria with the other club without having to meet – you simply enter the data, click a button and the international transfer certificate is generated automatically.”

Villiger spoke of the huge success of the system since its introduction, revealing that more than 4,800 clubs had been trained and were now participating in the system and that it had been used to make 10,500 international transfers, worth $2.7 billion USD, since the 2010 FIFA World Cup™.

The invited journalists, representing a number of leading press agencies, European newspapers and sports publications, were particularly interested in FIFA’s plans to reform the players’ agents system with a new “intermediaries” concept covering anybody negotiating a transfer on a player’s behalf.

At present only 25 to 30 per cent of international transfers are concluded through licensed agents, with relatives, lawyers and non-licensed agents among those regularly representing players. FIFA ‘s proposed reforms seek broader control over the activity, among other things by insisting on declaration of conflicts of interest, the registration of intermediaries with national associations and the disclosure of the remuneration paid.

The draft proposes limits on the amount of money that an intermediary can receive in relation to a transfer negotiation – setting a limit of 3 per cent of the player’s basic gross income or transfer fee, or of $2 million USD, whichever figure is the lowest.

Following Villiger’s presentation, the media representatives were given the opportunity to take part in question and answer session, enabling them to form a clearer picture of FIFA’s football governance activities.