In the wake of Neymar
’s record-setting transfer from Barcelona to Paris St. Germain, FIFpro is up in arms, and officials of FFP (Financial Fair Play) have asserted that business will
proceed as usual.
FIFA’s transfer rules have been challenged by FIFpro, which has called for an investigation into “anticompetitive, unjustified and illegal” transfer
rules developed and implemented by the world’s governing body.
According to the report, Barcelona have submitted the details of the transaction to UEFA. FIFpro has urged that
"disciplinary responsibilities" concerning Financial Fair Play (FFP) be researched. Officials of FFP said the mega-deal would not change its adherence to rules punishing teams that spend beyond their
In making its demand, FIFpro acknowledged the obvious, that a select and elite fleet of super-rich clubs are cornering the market for the world’s best players. Precisely
which clubs occupy the highest strata is subject to market forces as well as results: there was a time not so long ago when AC Milan employed many of the world’s top players, and PSG did not.
Not until Roman Abramovich
took control of Chelsea a decade and half ago did the English club rank among the super-rich; now is boasts one of the world’s most expensive payrolls.
The astonishing sums paid by the Premier League’s broadcasting partners have triggered a severe escalation in the prices commanded by top players. Still, the skyrocketing price paid for
Neymar -- $263 million, nearly three times the $96.6 million paid by Barcelona to Santos just four years ago – has shocked the world and prompted FIFpro, which represents about 65,000 players
around the world through several regional and national associations, to petition the European Commission for an inquiry.
On Friday. FIFpro issued a statement in which general secretary
Theo van Seggelen
said, “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.
“The world-record transfer of the Brazilian Neymar from Barcelona to Paris St Germain is the latest example of how football is ever more the domain of a
select group of rich, mostly European-based clubs.”
European teams have dominated the world player market for decades. Only a decree by the Brazilian government thwarted attempts by
European teams to obtain the great Pele
, who played for the same club, Santos, for all of his career before coming to the U.S.
By declaring him a national treasure, the government had
held him in Brazil until he retired in 1974. He came out of retirement the following year to join the old Cosmos of the old North American Soccer League.
So it’s a bit ironic that
before his PSG deal set a new transfer record, Neymar had left Pele’s former club for Barcelona in a blockbuster deal. In an escalating market seemingly without a ceiling. Neymar’s
insistence on embarking on “a new challenge” has caused Barcelona to state it will not pay a “loyalty bonus” of nearly $31 million that was part of an agreement to sign a new
contract with Barcelona last year.
Barca officials surely believed a buyout clause that specified a staggering sum would deter suitors for the Brazilian, and they were right in all cases
except one. They were trumped by members of Oryx Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), which bought a controlling interest in PSG in 2011 and 2012 (two separate investments totaling more than $90
“Given much of football's financial activity occurs within Europe, where significant transfer fees are exchanged between clubs, FIFpro is asking the European Commission to
launch of thorough investigation of the transfer rules it approved in 2001 and which are now in need of urgent review,” said van Seggelen.
“Stimulating reform of the current
transfer system rules is a priority for FIFpro in order to protect the rights of players as workers and safeguard the best interests of the game.”