The Committee for Club Football convened today at the Home of FIFA under its chairman and FIFA Executive Committee member Jacques Anouma for its first meeting in 2013. FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter opened the session and underlined the importance of clubs to football as the game’s foundation.

Excused due to other commitments were Karl Heinz-Rummenigge and Michele Centenaro, members of the European Club Association (ECA), Don Garber, the Commissioner of Major League Soccer, Frederic Thiriez, the Deputy Chairman of the European Professional Football League (EPFL) and President of the French Professional Football League, and Stephen Williamson of Waitakere United FC (New Zealand).

Chairman of the Organising Committee for the FIFA Club World Cup Chuck Blazer reported on the recent successful delivery of the 2012 event in Japan, with TV images of the tournament transmitted in 205 countries and territories. The next edition will be held this year in Morocco – the first African country to host the event – from 11 to 21 December, with action in Marrakech and Agadir promising another exciting tournament. He added that the use of goal-line technology (GLT) had been successful, with a report on its first test to be submitted to all member associations in due course. 

The committee also collected feedback from club representatives on GLT, with the FIFA Secretary General announcing an update meeting of the technology for clubs, leagues and associations in February or March once the report has been finalised. Committee members reported a high interest in GLT from the clubs and appreciated the initiative by FIFA.

An update was also provided on the transfer matching system (TMS), with a total of 11,555 international transfers taking place in 2012, representing a fall of 1 oer cent compared to the previous year. Portugal to Brazil was the most common transfer route, while Brazilians were the most represented nationality in the international transfer market. The average rate of commission paid by clubs to intermediaries was around 28 per cent. The average amount of time taken to conduct a transfer through the online system was five minutes, and the average age of transferred players was 24 years and 10 months, with the youngest being 16 (from England to Wales) and the oldest 45 (from Ukraine to Tajikistan).

The committee was also updated on the Global Player Exchange (GPX) concept, currently being developed by FIFA TMS in connection with the rollout of a series of premium services. These new optional services will have the same core aim of improving transparency.

The GPX platform will provide a secure and private service through which subscribing clubs will be able to access market information and interact with each other. The new service will also allow clubs to search for information on players, including their availability. Extensive stakeholder consultation has shown that most clubs have limited resources for accessing information on the professional player pool and often have to rely on intermediaries, thus increasing club costs. FIFA TMS is currently planning the implementation of GPX with multiple stakeholders, including clubs and member associations. “This will revolutionise the international and national transfer system,” explained chairman Jacques Anouma.

Also tackled at length by the committee were the latest updates on the options regarding intermediaries/players’ agents, and it was decided to discuss a concrete final proposal at a special meeting ahead of the next FIFA Executive Committee meeting. In addition, the committee was advised on the current situation with regard to analysing the various regulatory approaches on third-party ownership (TPO) of players’ economic rights at national level, with detailed assessments currently being conducted – including a legal risk analysis. In this context, a recent CIES study was presented, indicating that 15 per cent of licensed agents in England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain have entered into TPO arrangements. It was reiterated by the committee that a consistent global solution must be found to ensure the integrity of the game.

FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke also briefly presented the club benefits for the 2014 FIFA World Cup™. USD 2,850 will be paid per player and day to the respective clubs in compensation (compared to USD 1,600 in 2010), starting two weeks before the opening match and ending on the day of the last match of the player’s representative team.