While football should be about the skills and the talents of the players on the field, the truth of the matter is that football politics and player transfers tend to dominate the news headlines. This is perhaps not surprising, as the amount of money getting thrown around is simply staggering. While most of us have a basic idea of what football transfers are, very few people actually understand how they work and why they are so important. To clarify the matter and shed a little light on what is really happening behind the scenes, we take a look at the truth behind transfers.
Football Transfers 101
Each year, hundreds of millions of dollars change hands, as players move from one top club to another. The most recent example of this monetary extravagance was the transfer of Brazilian football star Neymar from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain. The figure reported in the press was around $265 million. To put it into perspective, this was over 100 million more than the previous record paid for French striker Paul Pogba.
Why Transfers Happen
Transfers happen when a player expresses interest in playing for another team. The team wanting to recruit the player usually initiates this move. The more talented the player, the more in demand he will be.
David Beckham for example played for many different clubs throughout his career in the UK, the US, France, Italy and Spain. Professional football players sign contracts with clubs for a fixed term, which is usually around five years. If a player transfers out of the club before their contract is up, the new club pays the old club compensation. This is known as a transfer fee.
Who Gets the Money?
This transfer fee is what the monetary value reported in the press. So, while half the world thinks that Neymar is happily walking around with over 200 million in his bank account, it was Barcelona who was on the receiving end of the cash. This was actually stipulated in Neymar’s contract as a buyout clause. Having relinquished one of their best players, they can now use the funds to recruit new blood or players from other top clubs. Neymar’s father and agent gets a good amount of cash out the deal as well, with the lion’s share of $45 Million.
Football transfers don’t just happen at random. FIFA has set out specific regulations on how and when transfers must happen. There are two separate time periods or transfer windows each year. The longer window takes place between seasons, while there is a shorter window mid-season. In Europe, the summer transfer window closes at the end of August. During this time, the clubs, the players, their agents and a boardroom filled with lawyers get together to hash out the details of the contract.
What’s in the Contract?
The information set out in the contract includes details of the salary of the player in question, bonuses for future competitions, initial sign-on bonuses and loyalty bonuses if the player is still with the club after year 3, and so on. Much like playing at a top casino online, players are rewarded for the time they have spent playing, their loyalty and their performance.
If a player is in high demand, the club that is willing to give the player the best deal usually wins out. This of course is if they agree to the transfer fee, which is determined by the club the player is currently playing for. Before the contract is signed, the player must undergo an extensive physical examination and fitness test. Any medical issues or injuries dramatically affect the salary and the size of the transfer fee.
When transfers are announced, they have usually taken months of planning to get to that point. The initial contact is made via agents from one club to another through the player, if he is keen on the idea.
While some people think that the unnecessarily large transfers are ruining the spirit of the game, in reality only around 14% of transfers result from contract buy-outs. The majority of moves in football happen when a player reaches the end of their contract and they simply move on to the next club who is willing to offer them a good salary and career benefits. For those on the field and off, it’s a lucrative game in every way!