Volume: 15 Issue: 8
In August 2016, Paul Pogba became the world’s most expensive footballer when he moved from Juventus to Manchester United (‘United’) for a world record fee reported to be over £89.3 million. A year later, that fee was dwarfed by the €222 million transfer of Neymar from FC Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain. In May 2017, there was a significant amount of press regarding the Pogba Transfer, namely in relation to Pogba’s intermediary, Mino Raiola, as various Football Leaks files1 suggested that Raiola pocketed a staggering €49 million in fees from the transfer. This prompted a media furore into the role of intermediaries and an investigation by FIFA into the Pogba Transfer2. In the Neymar Transfer, a similar media furore followed La Liga’s refusal to accept a cheque for €222 million from Neymar/ PSG’s lawyers as payment of Neymar’s buyout clause, on the basis that it would infringe UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (‘FFP’) rules. In this article, Tiran Gunawardena of Mills & Reeve LLP provides commentary on the confusion in the press regarding FIFA’s investigation into the Pogba Transfer, La Liga’s refusal to accept the buyout clause payment in the Neymar Transfer, and how both transfers reflect the broader lack of transparency in the market.