UEFA to ban third party ownership of players

LAUSANNE Fri Dec 7, 2012 12:42am IST

Staff are pictured in the entrance of UEFA in Nyon May 27, 2010. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Staff are pictured in the entrance of UEFA in Nyon May 27, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Denis Balibouse

LAUSANNE (Reuters) - European soccer's governing body UEFA wants to prohibit the controversial third-party ownership of players, secretary general Gianni Infantino said on Thursday.

"We all know that third-party ownership of players bears many threats and there are many issues linked with the integrity of the competition and it is really time to regulate that and to have a stance on that," Infantino said.

Infantino said UEFA would ask world governing body FIFA to issue regulations banning the practice.

"World soccer's governing body FIFA will be requested to issue relevant worldwide regulations prohibiting third-party ownership of players," UEFA said in a statement.

"UEFA...would also be ready to implement a regulatory framework to prohibit third-party ownership arrangements in UEFA competitions, should FIFA not take the appropriate steps.

"In that case, a transitional period of three to four seasons would apply."

Third-party ownership is when the transfer rights of players are wholly or partially owned by the footballer himself or a company, instead of just the player's club.

The practice is banned in England, France and Poland but allowed in many other countries. It is especially prevalent in Brazil.

English club West Ham United were fined for breaking rules on third-party agreements regarding player transfers when they signed Argentine forward Carlos Tevez from Brazilian club Corinthians in 2006.

There followed a protracted legal battle with Sheffield United, who sued West Ham for the cost of relegation saying the Londoners should have faced the drop instead because they ought to have been given a points deduction as well as the fine.

After two years, the clubs settled out of court.

When Brazilian Oscar joined Chelsea this year, the fee, which media have estimated at 25 million pounds, was divided up between two Brazilian teams, the midfielder himself and entrepreneurs who own what are called his "economic rights." (Editing by Clare Fallon)

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