Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Analysis Needed Before Further Regulating Player Contracts

Analysis of the impact that recently-implemented rules affecting player contracts will have on football is needed before further regulating the area, concluded World Sports Law Report's Player Contracts 2012 on 5 July in London. Football authorities need to investigate whether banning third-party investment in players is plausible - especially as such bans put certain counties at a disadvantage when competing for the world's best players under UEFA's Financial Fair Play Regulations (FFPR).

"What is the point of the Financial Fair Play Regulations if you can assemble a squad at no cost using third-party investment?", said Jane Purdon, Director of Governance at the Premier League, which has notified UEFA that its own ban on third-party investment in players puts it at a disadvantage in European competitions. "Third-party investment either pushes up transfer fees or curtails the real transfer market".

"When we first examined third-party investment, we weren't comfortable banning it having looked at it for only a short period of time", said Sefton Perry of UEFA's Club Licensing department. "However, it was clear that something needed to be done, as there was no transparency. Player ownership now has to be declared under club licensing, which is a step in the right direction."

Delegates attending the event also heard how FIFA is considering using powers to audit clubs to ensure compliance with its Transfer Matching System (TMS). "We have very broad investigative powers given to us by the regulations", said Isabelle Solal, Head of Integrity & Compliance at FIFA TMS, when asked if FIFA would conduct 'surprise audits' on clubs. "We are not ruling anything out at the moment".

Delegates also heard:

- if a club breaches UEFA's FFPR as a result of the wages of players signed prior to 1 June 2010, then that club will not be sanctioned (Annex XI FFPR).
- The Premier League and Football League are having discussions about what should happen under the Football League's FFPR if a promoted club is then relegated back into the Football League, as it would be able to sign players freely whilst in the Premier League, which doesn't operate FFPR.

The programme also included sessions on how compensation for international duty operates, how image rights issues are affecting the way in which player contracts are conducted and much more.

The annual conference, hosted at the Kensington Close hotel, was attended by international federations, continental associations, national associations, leagues, clubs, agents, lawyers and more. World Sports Law Report also organises Tackling Doping in Sport, which is organised in association with UK Anti-Doping and Squire Sanders. World Sports Law Report will also be hosting its annual Sports & Betting conference at a central London location on October 9 this year.

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