World football players’ union FIFPro is lobbying the European Union to ban transfer fees, which it says concentrates power in the hands of a few mega-rich clubs, to the detriment of most players and to the sport itself.
The record €222 million-euro that fee Paris St Germain is paying to acquire Neymar from Barcelona shows just how wrong the transfer system is, FIFPro said on Friday (4 August).
“The world record transfer of Brazilian Neymar from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain is the latest example of how football is ever more the domain of a select group of rich, mostly European-based clubs,” FIFPro General Secretary Theo van Seggelen said in a statement.
“FIFPro is calling on the European Commission to investigate the flow of money via transfer fees within the EU territory to understand their impact on competitive balance in the region,” he added.
A Commission spokesman declined to comment on Neymar’s transfer fee during a news conference on Thursday.
The EU executive gave its legal approval to rules for transfers between football clubs in 2001.
In 2015, the FIFPro union submitted a legal complaint to the Commission’s competition law department about the rules. Van Seggelen said on Friday that the complaint aimed to “bring an end to the transfer market madness, for the good of the game, all players, clubs and fans”.
FIFPro says the dominant clubs entrench their position in the market by inflating transfer fees and therefore creating barriers against other clubs to compete with them.
“Football’s enormous wealth is trapped, research shows, within a few leagues and clubs when it could be redistributed more efficiently and fairly to help protect competitive balance,” Van Seggelen said.
“The transfer rules governed by FIFA are anti-competitive, unjustified and illegal,” he said, adding that changes were needed “in order to protect the rights of players as workers and safeguard the best interests of the game.”