Revolutionizing Football: The FIFA Clearing House Policy

The FIFA Clearing House Policy stands as a pioneering strategy implemented by FIFA to overhaul player transfers and safeguard the financial aspects of the sport. FIFA President Gianni Infantino estimates that the global player transfer market is currently worth between US$6 billion and US$7 billion annually, with expectations of its value soaring to approximately US$10 billion in the coming years. However, amid this influx of funds, a mere 15 to 20 percent, around US$400 million, trickles down to the clubs responsible for nurturing players into professionals. The FIFA Clearing House seeks to address this issue by redirecting the entire sum to the selling teams, with a distinct focus on equitable compensation for smaller clubs. Consequently, it introduces transparency into football transactions, benefiting not only the football giants but also the underrepresented smaller entities.

The FIFA Clearing House (FCH) was a central component of the “first reform package” within the transfer system, endorsed by the Football Stakeholders Committee and sanctioned by the FIFA Council in October 2018. It plays a pivotal role in FIFA’s broader vision of “FIFA 2.0: The Vision for the Future,” underscoring the organization’s commitment to making significant enhancements to the football transfer system.

Aligned with FIFA’s vision to “Grow the Game,” the FCH primarily focuses on revamping the system of training rewards for clubs investing in the development of young players. It also addresses the issue of training rewards, including training compensation and solidarity compensation, to clubs. To qualify for these rewards, clubs are required to register all their players, regardless of gender or amateur/professional status, with their respective member associations from the age of 12. This registration process is crucial as it allows FIFA to effectively monitor player movements across clubs and distribute compensations accurately.

These records will become part of the Electronic Player Passport (EPP) and will automate training rewards when players transition into professionals. Member Associations bear the responsibility of implementing electronic systems for collecting and disseminating player information during transfers.

The FIFA Clearing House, headquartered in Paris, France, operates as an independent payment institution solely controlled by FIFA for settling funds included in the final EPP. The majority of the FCH’s Management Board and Supervisory Board members are independent, ensuring autonomous operational decision-making.

Furthermore, the FCH obtained a payment institution license from the French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority (Autorité de contrôle prudentiel et de résolution, ACPR) in September 2022. This authorization empowers the FCH to handle payments for clubs in compliance with rigorous European financial standards.

Key Policies of the FIFA Clearing House

  • All payments from one club to another and to agents will have to pass through the FIFA Clearing House.
  • All payments to strange places, strange bank accounts and strange countries will not be tolerated anymore. All transactions must be transparent and must be recognized.
  • Rewards should be allocated to clubs investing in the growth, development, and training of young players in the journey to becoming professionals.
  • Training clubs should also be rewarded by means of amounts relative to the fees paid in future transfers of a player.
  • Member Associations must adopt electronic domestic transfer and registration systems in carrying out transfers. This should also be integrated with the TMS (Transfer Matching System), the FIFA Connect ID service, and the FIFA Connect Interface. Furthermore, clubs and Member Associations must ensure that reliable and detailed player registration and transfer information is included in these systems.

Advantages of the FIFA Clearing House Policy

The adoption of this policy represents a significant advancement for FIFA and all associated entities. It motivates training clubs to continue nurturing talent while offering them a pathway to financial stability. Historically, financial constraints have hindered many training clubs from fulfilling their goals, but this policy provides hope by rewarding their efforts and eradicating financial struggles.

Moreover, the policy dramatically improves the quality of football players produced by these training clubs. Adequate funding addresses deficiencies in player development, ensuring that young talents receive proper training, facilities, and equipment. Consequently, the FIFA Clearing House fosters the emergence of well-rounded, skilled players.

Additionally, this policy curbs fraudulent activities that have plagued the football world. By ensuring that clubs receive just compensation for their role in player development, it reduces disputes and shady dealings within the transfer market. Small, unrecognized clubs are transformed into financially viable training institutions, offering a more level playing field.

Conclusion

While the FIFA Clearing House Policy marks a significant step forward, questions linger regarding certain aspects of player exchange and compensation calculations. FIFA must clarify how it will handle player exchanges and delayed payments. There is also a need for mechanisms to address cases where engaging clubs attempt to delay payments by registering acquired players as amateurs. In such cases, determining a player’s professional or amateur status falls under scrutiny, necessitating clear protocols, whether administered by FIFA or National Associations.

In summary, the FIFA Clearing House Policy is a transformative strategy set to improve the world of football. By providing better funding to training clubs, it not only produces higher-quality players but also fosters a fairer, more transparent environment, reducing disputes and fraudulent activities. While challenges remain, this policy represents a promising future for football on a global scale.

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