Then there is the big question over transfer fees: whether we should have a mathematical calculation of how much value a player contract has, or whether this should be left to the discretion of clubs, agents, intermediaries and whoever else.
Speaking at the online launch event of the 2021 edition of FIFA’s Commentary on the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (RSTP), Infantino said the transfer market was now “driven by speculation,” which in turn leads to instability.
He also criticised the commissions paid to player agents, as part of his and FIFA’s wider clampdown on the industry, and called for a dramatic increase in compensation to clubs for developing young players.
Infantino has embarked on a mission to reform the transfer market since his election in 2016, and the FIFA President used figures from 2019, the last year before the Covid pandemic impacted football’s finances, to highlight his frustrations.
He said: “Three figures strike me every time I look at them… In 2019, €7bn was spent on transfer fees around the world, €700m went to commissions of agents, and €70m on training solidarity compensation.
“Something is not right when we hear those figures: €7bn for transfers, €700m for agents and only €70m for training of players. It's not right. Something needs to change in this respect and we are changing it.”
The 'pièce de résistance' of reform
A FIFA Task Force, set up in 2017, is continuing to discuss the future of the transfer market, with the new transfer clearing house set to be launched in 2022.
That reform process is now entering stage three, which Infantino claimed will be the ‘pièce de résistance.’
He said: “I’m confident we will reach a good agreement or in any case a good decision on transfer of minors, squad size limits and transfer windows. And then there is the big question over transfer fees: whether we should have a mathematical calculation of how much value a player contract has, or whether this should be left to the discretion of clubs, agents, intermediaries and whoever else.”
Arguing his preference for change, he said: “The transfer market is driven by speculation rather than solidarity. What started out as contract stability protection... has been transformed in order to create instability and speculation for transfers to happen.”
At FIFA’s annual football law review earlier this year, Ornella Desirée Bellia, Head of Professional Football, revealed the organisation was looking at ways of regulating football’s financial flow.
On the subject of player transfer fees, she said “why not create an algorithm to determine player market value,” albeit did not offer further detail.
Compensating the career starters
Infantino also called for the gap between transfer fees and compensation payments to be cut.
While FIFA’s RSTP require clubs that buy professionals in certain circumstances to pay training rewards, in the form of training compensation, to the training clubs that produced those professionals, such payments are not enough.
Infantino suggested that 5 per cent of the current transfer market value should be directed towards developing clubs, which would equate to around €350 million, or 500 per cent up on the figures from 2019 that continue to anger the FIFA boss.