FIFA reached a milestone in its aim to better regulate international football transfers on Thursday 8 October, when, as part of the gradual implementation of the transfer matching system (TMS), the first ever electronic International Transfer Certificate (ITC) was issued by The Scottish Football Association in favour of the French Football Association. The electronic issuing of ITCs will not only reduce the amount of paperwork, but also facilitate and accelerate the processes involved and, above all, make transfers more transparent.

"FIFA has the responsibility and the task of preserving the values of the game and its competitive integrity. The transfer matching system is an important tool to achieve this. The increased transparency allows us to better safeguard the protection of minors," emphasised FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter.

The objective of the TMS is to make sure that football's authorities have more details available to them on each and every international transfer, and on the other hand, to increase the transparency of individual transactions, in turn increasing the credibility of the entire transfer system. In the past, transfers were made by fax between the member associations of the clubs involved.

"The transfer matching system represents a revolution in the administration of international football transfers. While the legal aspects remain the same, the TMS will centrally control all international player transfers by recording all relevant data. From a legal perspective, it is one of the most thrilling projects FIFA has ever realised," explained Marco Villiger, FIFA's Director of Legal Affairs. "The first-ever electronic ITC is a major step towards the implementation of the TMS."

The new system on the internet provides clubs with the kind of modern electronic technology required to keep pace with the volume of transfers in today's market. The system will enable bank transfers to be carried out strictly between the clubs involved.

As of today, 108 associations (including all 53 UEFA associations) and 1,263 clubs are participating in the FIFA programme, which encompasses 4,312 recorded transfers. The global roll-out of the TMS will be completed for all 208 associations by March 2010. From 1 October 2010, only electronic ITCs will be accepted for the transfer of professional players, thus ensuring complete transparency.