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FIFA implement new international transfer system

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

From today all international football transfers will have to be registered through Fifa’s newly implemented online Transfer Matching System (TMS) which requires both clubs involved in any transfer to verify themselves, the fee and any third parties. In July 2009 the Financial Action Task Force claimed that transfers were potentially football’s weak point in the battle against financial crime.

More than 30 details on each player must be registered including any information on so-called “third party ownership” which caused the Carlos Tevez affair at West Ham. The hope is that TMS will help avoid such scenarios in future and provide added protection to young players transferred across international boundaries.

“This is a historic moment for football,” said FIFA President Sepp Blatter.  “Thanks to TMS, football’s authorities have more details available on each and every transfer. The most important thing is that it increases the transparency of individual transactions and helps us to tackle issues such as the fight against money laundering and the protection of minors in transfers.”

One interesting aspect to the system is that once a deadline is passed, TMS automatically closes down preventing any transfer activity. This means the authorities can now quite legitimately sidestep any accusations of bias when giving special dispensation to transfers delayed by IT problems or broken fax machines. The most recent example of this was when the Premier League gave Spurs the nod to sign Rafael van der Vaart resulting in complaints from rival fans of the North London club.

Finally, said Mark Goddard of TMS, the system will put a stop to football’s “game of chicken in the negotiations for transfers”. At present clubs often wait until the dying hours of the transfer window to bid for a player and last minute haggling is commonplace. But now, like Cinderella, the clubs had better get it all tied up by midnight if they don’t want to lose their Prince Charming (or Carlos Tevez).

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Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund


  • Gamble Aware
  • Co-operatives UK
  • FSE
  • Kick It Out
  • Level Playing Field
  • Living Wage Foundation
  • Pledgeball
  • SD Europe