FIFA wants to set up a web-based transfer system that would function as a financial clearing house for all international player transactions and limit the role of agents, its legal director said Wednesday.
Marco Villiger said such a web-based system would allow FIFA to check every international transfer payment and cut out money laundering and player abuse. In time, the system could also function as a resource for clubs to see which players are available on the market.
FIFA already set up an online database last year to match transfer documents from both clubs involved in a transaction as a first step to curb financial corruption and stop cross-border deals involving minors. But a global transfer payment system would strengthen its ability to make sure all deals are done by the book, and to curtail abuse by agents and fraudulent clubs making excessive and illegal profits.
Making it easier for clubs and players to deal with one another directly would also limit the impact of agents.
"We see there is a lot of abuse, pressure put on players," Villiger said of the agents. On top of that, he said, "there is a lot of money which leaves the system" when agents claim excessive fees.
A FIFA working group is considering new player agent rules that would cap their fees on transfers.
"Fair is perhaps between 2 and 3 percent or a cap of 2 million (dollars)," Villiger said.
There have been over 10,000 international transfers since the last World Cup, and some total in the tens of millions of dollars, making for a vast and lucrative market for a few specialized agents.
FIFA at first sought to regulate the agents by approving licenses but said the system was inefficient since some 70 percent of transfers were still overseen by unlicensed agents.
Now, FIFA is looking for a new system to have more control over the agents.
One option would be to let clubs use the data collected by the web-based transfer system to search for available players. By charging a fee for such data mining, FIFA could also recoup some of the money needed to run such a system, Villiger said.
"Various clubs want to know which (is) the tendency on the market, where are players coming from, which age, nationality do they have," Villiger said. "It is an extremely sophisticated, expensive system and it is possible that we say those who want to have more information on top, that they also contribute to the running of the system."
However, he stressed that the idea was still in its initial stage, and that the main purpose of the system was to provide a clear, legal and transparent transfer market.
"It is an integrity tool. It is not a money machine. It is not there to make money," Villiger said.