A new working group set up to address the topic of third-party ownership of players’ economic rights met for the first time today, 2 September 2014, at the Home of FIFA in Zurich. It followed on from the FIFA Congress decision in June to create a dedicated working group to analyse all possible regulatory options in relation to this complex practice and to make preliminary suggestions, which will be presented to the Players’ Status Committee and ultimately to the FIFA Executive Committee later in September.
The meeting was chaired by England’s Geoff Thompson, chairman of FIFA’s Dispute Resolution Chamber and a member of the FIFA Players’ Status Committee, and attended by representatives of the football community at confederation, member association, league and club level as well as by representatives of FIFPro, the international organisation representing all professional football players.
Representatives from Brazil, England and Portugal explained the applicable approaches regarding investment in players’ economic rights both at the level of sporting regulations as well as national laws, which was followed by an exchange of views on possible options aimed at addressing third-party ownership at worldwide level. The options discussed ranged from transparency measures, to establishing specific requirements and limitations in terms of quality and quantity, to a prohibition of third-party ownership.
There was consensus within the group that the current approach needed to be reconsidered and that the international transfer matching system provided by FIFA TMS would be of assistance in the implementation of the option ultimately chosen. According to the original timeline and road map, the topic will next be discussed at the level of the Players’ Status Committee.
Third-party ownership, or TPO, refers to the circumstances in which a third party invests in the economic rights of a professional player, potentially in order to receive a share of the value of any future transfer of that player. It has been the subject of debate within the football community, led at the international level by FIFA, and has been an integral part of the work of several FIFA standing committees.
Gaining a thorough understanding of this form of investment in the football market has been challenging due to the limited economic data available and the varied global relevance of TPO.
As that understanding develops over time, particularly through initiatives such as the two recent studies produced at the request of FIFA as well as the ongoing consultation process, with contributions from all relevant football stakeholders, FIFA remains fully committed to reaching a solution that best protects football and that corresponds to the evolving needs of the game after hearing the positions of all members of the football community.
With regard to the progress of the working group on third-party ownership of players‘ economic rights, further updates will be communicated in due course.