Fifa aims to regulate transfer fees, cap player loans

ZURICH • A Fifa task force has proposed the use of an algorithm to calculate transfer fees, a luxury tax and a limit on the number of players who can be loaned, in a report on possible reforms to the football transfer system.

The report, which has been seen by Reuters, found multiple failings in the current system, saying among its many criticisms that it led to "various abuses at the expense of young players and the integrity of competitions".

It said that an inflated transfer market was driving "unsavoury practices which may lead to the exploitation of players".

In a section on the role of agents, the report added: "The transfer system appears to have turned into a speculative market. This is not fair to the football clubs or grassroots which are the foundation of the professional sport."

Fifa president Gianni Infantino said after being elected in 2016 that reforming the transfer system was one of his priorities and he has since voiced his concern at spiralling transfer fees.

The report said "mechanisms to achieve transparency and objectivity" in the calculation of transfer fees should be considered.

It raised several ideas for putting the brakes on fees, including the use of an algorithm, or a set of mathematical rules, to calculate the value of players.

The task force, set up by Infantino last November, said the Swiss-based CIES Football Observatory had already developed an algorithm to "estimate transfer values and probabilities in a scientific way". Another idea it put forward was to impose a luxury tax on excessive transfer spending, using the money raised to create a solidarity fund.

The report also recommended limiting the number of player loans a club could make in a season to between six and eight in, and the same number out, with a maximum of three to or from the same club.

It also said the loan system needed to have a clearly defined purpose as the current set-up "sometimes prevents young players from fully developing their talent".

A limit on squad sizes was also proposed, adding that "the stockpiling and subsequent loaning of players, particularly young players, can be detrimental to their development due to the unsettling nature of being 'on loan'".

Regarding agents, a cap on fees was put forth as well as an end to the practice where the same agent can act for both clubs and the player in a single transaction.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 16, 2018, with the headline 'Fifa aims to regulate transfer fees, cap player loans'. Print Edition | Subscribe