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.

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