Council of Europe report: FIFA transfer system reform to 'significantly improve' football
The Council of Europe, based on the work of its Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), has recognised FIFA’s ongoing efforts to reform the transfer system, stating that the soon‑to‑be‑operational FIFA Clearing House “will represent a milestone in achieving comprehensiveness, transparency and integrity of the transfer system for football players around the world”.
The FIFA Transfer System Reform – Analysis and Recommendations report prepared by Drago Kos, former GRECO President and current President of the OECD Anti‑bribery Working Group in International Business Transactions, states that “the simplification of methods for the calculation of training rewards and their channelling through the FIFA Clearing House might significantly improve the incomes of clubs at lower levels of competition”.
The document acknowledges that the FIFA Football Agent Regulations, due to enter into force in July 2022, are an “important step in the right direction, where the role of agents will be more aligned to the roles of other actors in football – clubs, players, etc. – and the objectives of the transfer system”.
As far as the envisaged reforms relating to the loan of players are concerned, the report remarks: “The new regulations are planned to prevent their misuse, protect careers of young players and ensure the integrity of competitions. Excessive loaning of players has influenced the competitive abilities of the clubs, distorted the uncertainty of the results of sport competitions and slowed down the development of the players’ careers.”
The Council of Europe’s report also tackles other key areas of FIFA’s transfer system reform, including the transfer of minors, squad sizes, home-grown players and transfer windows, and concludes that “the decision of FIFA to review and further develop the transfer system of football players in the world will undoubtedly and significantly improve the overall climate in world football”.
In reviewing many aspects of the football transfer system, the Council of Europe’s report also provides 20 additional proposals aimed at improving the functioning and data management of the Clearing House, the already-enhanced compliance standards for clubs, the provisions regarding conflicts of interest in the draft FIFA Football Agent Regulations and the protection of foreign minor players in transfers.
Since 2017, and in line with FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s Vision 2020-2023: Making Football Truly Global, FIFA has made major steps towards the establishment of a fairer and more transparent transfer system, with the FIFA Council recently endorsing the Third Reform Package. An overview of the main achievements in relation to the reform of the transfer system is available here.
The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) was established in 1999 by the Council of Europe to monitor States’ compliance with the organisation’s anti-corruption standards.
GRECO’s objective is to improve the capacity of its members to fight corruption by monitoring their compliance with Council of Europe anti-corruption standards through a dynamic process of mutual evaluation and peer pressure. It helps to identify deficiencies in national anti-corruption policies, prompting the necessary legislative, institutional and practical reforms. GRECO also provides a platform for the sharing of best practice in the prevention and detection of corruption.
Membership of GRECO, which is an enlarged agreement, is not limited to Council of Europe member States. Any State which took part in the elaboration of the enlarged partial agreement may join by notifying the Secretary General of the Council of Europe. Moreover, any State which becomes Party to the Criminal or Civil Law Conventions on Corruption automatically accedes to GRECO and its evaluation procedures. Currently, GRECO comprises 50 member States (48 European States, Kazakhstan and the United States of America).
Further details on GRECO are available here.