The big business of football transfers

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I was interested to read Stuart Gray’s views about the role of agents in football (The Star, Tuesday, May 5). I can feel the frustration leaping from the Star’s pages as I anticipate Stuart’s dealings with these faceless people who seem to have the football industry by the proverbial spherical objects.

Indeed, most managers will be in the same boat, which is about all one can say about the fairness and honesty of a system that seems to promote greed as the main motivation for footballer transfers. Of course, footballers and their agents will deny this. How did football get to this state of affairs anyhow?

As Stuart says, Sheffield Wednesday might make an offer and the agent might then “bounce it around a few other clubs”. Therefore, what other system could be employed, which might rid the game of these middle-men who take a hefty cut from the transfer system in my view to the detriment of the game as a whole? How about a tendering system? It’s a normal way of doing business in other industries and after all, as we are constantly being reminded, football is big business these days.

However, in my view too much power in the transfer market lies with the player and their agent. How would my suggestion work in practice?

It would have to be managed by the FA or a third party organisation that could be called the Transfer Group.

These would be a few individuals paid to oversee all football transfers with the funding coming from the FA or the Premier League.

When a footballer’s contract is about to expire, the exporting club would notify the Transfer Group who would communicate this around all clubs. Any interested club (including the player’s current club) would then have to communicate their offer (including all bonuses and perks attached to the offer) in a sealed envelope back to the Transfer Group within a specified date. Any offers received after that date would be void.

The player would be told he can accept any offer but once his decision is made he is honour-bound to keep it, with no negotiating with other clubs to raise their offer. Clubs should be told that tenders are binding on both parties and are non-negotiable. Players wouldn’t need an agent to act as a middle-man to ramp up the costs of the transfer as it would all be transparent.