As of 1 October 2010, the FIFA Transfer Matching System (TMS) must be used for all international football transfers. TMS is an online system that makes international transfers quicker, smoother and, most importantly, more transparent. It was introduced in February 2008 as a test phase in 18 countries and since then it has been implemented in all FIFA member associations and overall in 3,633 clubs.
“This is a historic moment for football. TMS is a relatively simple online system but it will have a tremendous impact on the international transfer of players,” said FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter. “Thanks to TMS, football’s authorities have more details available on each and every transfer. The most important thing is that it increases the transparency of individual transactions and helps us to tackle issues such as the fight against money laundering and the protection of minors in transfers.”
The two clubs involved in a transfer have to enter the same information in TMS, otherwise the transfer will be blocked and the member association cannot issue the International Transfer Certificate (ITC).
Overall, more than 30 details on each transfer have to be entered, such as information on the player, club details, all payments including the amount, timing and bank details, and solidarity payments to previous clubs. These details must also be backed up by documentary evidence consisting of uploaded copies of the player’s identification documents, his new employment contract and the transfer contract between his former and future club. The new system replaces the old paper-based system.
When it comes to young and minor players, TMS also has a vital role to play. By keeping track of individual player histories, the system can be used to ensure that proper compensation payments can be calculated for clubs that have trained young players but have then seen them leave for other clubs.
In addition, the system has also been adapted to assist FIFA’s efforts to reduce the number of international transfers involving under-age players. Following approval by the FIFA Congress in 2009, any such transfers must first be approved by a sub-committee of the FIFA Players’ Status Committee (along with any applications for a minor player to be registered for the first time in a country where he is not a national), and TMS handles both the initial request and the subsequent decision-making process.