Plans to take TMS forward
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With just over a year having passed since FIFA’s Transfer Matching System (TMS) became mandatory for all international transfers of professional players, plans are already being put in place to further improve and refine the system.

TMS, which strives to ensure transparency in transfer deals between negotiating clubs, oversaw more than 5,000 deals during the most recent transfer window, while the Integrity and Compliance Unit was required to investigate 304 cases and scored an immediate success rate of 75 per cent.

There is no intention for TMS to rest on its laurels, however, and its General Manager, Mark Goddard, has explained why the system needs to be improved for the future and how those modifications will be made.

“We have a redesign in place which will be delivered in the second quarter of 2012. We have learned a lot about what the clubs want and we want to have a more user-friendly and usable system,” Goddard revealed.

One key problem that has arisen since the TMS was launched in February 2008 is that of clubs failing to honour transfer payments within the expected timeframe, and the knock-on effect that can have on other teams around the globe. As all the details of each transfer, including the agreed payment dates, are stored with the TMS, action can be taken to resolve such incidents.

We have learned a lot about what the clubs want and we want to have a more user-friendly and usable system.
Mark Goddard, TMS General Manager

Goddard said: "We see key issues as being the 'daisy-chain' effect. If one big instalment is not paid, then smaller payments are withheld further down the line. That could go three, or four, or five deep. It trickles down and we are obviously trying to make sure that we break those chains.

“We will ask the tough questions, so we have targeted these disputes over larger sums using an intelligence-based process and have found it does help resolve related problems much quicker. In the majority of cases, the clubs are quick to respond with an explanation."

A new element of the TMS is likely to be a rating system, which will examine clubs based on how many transfers they have been involved in, the kind of payments involved in their deals, and whether they have fulfilled their obligations on time.

Aimed at giving an indication of how well a club is performing with regard to its transfer dealings, the transparent rating system will list the criteria with which it marks clubs and will be available to see by all.

"We want to institute a system of rating clubs to help hold them accountable and provide transparent feedback," Goddard explained. "It will help us be robust in dealing with clubs that fail to meet their obligations."