FIFA has welcomed the report on EU sports policy, prepared by Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and former professional football player Tomasz Frankowski, which was adopted today by the European Parliament (EP) plenary. This report will be an important step for the development of EU sports policy in the years to come.
In line with FIFA’s ongoing transfer system reform, the document recalls the need to “regulate the activities of agents” and acknowledges the importance of recent reforms, including “the establishment of a clearing house, licensing requirements for agents and caps on agents’ commissions.”
“The European Parliament report clearly confirms that FIFA’s ongoing efforts in relation to the transfer system reform not only go in the right direction but are essential to shape the football of the future, which should be based on the principles of good governance and solidarity by all those involved,” commented FIFA Chief Legal & Compliance Officer Emilio García Silvero.
“The transfer system reform has gained consistent support by key political actors, which is very much in line with FIFA’s commitment to modernise the regulatory framework, thereby ensuring that transparency and accountability are safeguarded on a global scale.”
Support from political actors on the transfer system reform
The EP report follows the publication of another report by the Council of Europe in June this year that recognised FIFA’s ongoing efforts to reform the transfer system, stressing that the soon-to-be-operational FIFA Clearing House would “represent a milestone in achieving comprehensiveness, transparency and integrity of the transfer system for football players around the world”.
Other entities supporting FIFA’s ongoing efforts in relation to the transfer system reform have been the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
FIFA tackling “significant imbalance”
As highlighted by FIFA President Gianni Infantino at the 71st FIFA Congress, there is still a significant imbalance in world football: the global spend on player transfers (which amounted to USD 7 billion in 2019) is not reflected in the payment of compensation to training clubs (totalling just USD 70 million, also in 2019), which is far less than agents’ fees (USD 700 million in the same year). To remedy this, the FIFA Clearing House will help enforce training compensation and solidarity payments, potentially raising the amount to USD 300 million per year.
Since 2017, and in line with the FIFA President’s blueprint The 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 endorsing three reform packages. An overview of the main achievements in relation to the reform of the transfer system is available here.
On good governance and integrity, the report hails, among others, the “reforms and measures to improve transparency and accountability in the player transfer market across sports,” while stressing the importance of making “further efforts” in the same direction.
The report also calls for all relevant actors to prioritise policies that safeguard children, promote healthy and active lifestyles and ensure safe, inclusive and equal sport.
“We support the principles of the report and in particular, we take note of the European Parliament’s call to safeguard children from any form of abuse in sport,” said Joyce Cook, FIFA Chief Social Responsibility & Education Officer. “We have already launched in 2019 the FIFA Guardians Programme, to strengthen child and vulnerable adult safeguarding measures across football, and we are now taking the initiative to establish an independent, multi-sport, multi-agency, international entity to help sports judicial bodies investigate and appropriately manage cases of abuse. We are ready to work together with EU institutions to further advance our work in that respect,” she added.