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FIFPro believes there is mounting evidence football’s transfer system is unfair for players and all but a few select clubs.

Stefan Szymanski, a professor of sport management at the University of Michigan (USA), is the latest academic to highlight how a handful of elite clubs are exchanging hundreds of millions of euros between them with only a fraction of the money filtering down to lower league clubs.

The system FIFA oversees also allows clubs to retain under-contract footballers pending a “slow and cumbersome” resolution process -- even when they have not paid them wages for months, Szymanski found.

“Professor Szymanski’s report is uncomfortable reading for everyone who loves football,’’ FIFPro General Secretary Theo van Seggelen said. “The transfer system is damaging the game and needs fixing urgently.”

Click here for the full Stefan Szymanski study

FIFPro, which represents 65,000 players around the world, has filed a complaint about the transfer system to the European Commission saying it is anti-competitive, unjustified and illegal.

Szymanski’s report, commissioned by FIFPro, follows a 2013 report by KEA European Affairs that said European football may be “slowly embracing a system of closed leagues’’ because of unequal revenue distribution and transfer rules not addressing the competitive imbalance.

The KEA report was sponsored by the European Commission.

Research published last month by the International Centre for Sport Studies (CIES), which is funded by FIFA, found that 72 percent of the 3.3 billion Euros of transfer fees in the latest off-season remained in the top divisions of Europe’s five biggest leagues, an increase on the average of 68 percent between 2010 and 2015.

Transfer Costs NW 640

All the evidence shows the transfer system is benefiting fewer and fewer teams,’’ Van Seggelen said. “But our main concern is that it is damaging the lives and careers of thousands of footballers around the world.

In a 12-country survey in 2012, FIFPro found that 42 percent of players did not receive salaries on time and in one-third of cases their wages were more than three months late. Trapped by the regulations, some had faced harassment for complaining: 16 percent were forced to train alone at unsociable hours such as at midnight, 12 percent were victims of violent acts and 10 percent had been bullied.

According to Szymanski’s report, FIFA’s transfer regulations are “weighted against the players,” allowing clubs to exert pressure on them to achieve their own

“The transfer system must be completely overhauled,” Van Seggelen said. “FIFPro welcomes an honest and open debate in developing solutions that safeguard the industry and maximise football’s potential as a socially responsible sport and business.”


Also read:     New study: Abusive transfer system is failing
  The full Stefan Szymanski study
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