Every summer, hundreds of millions of dollars are exchanged when the world’s top football clubs hunt the best players for the upcoming season. But what is a transfer, and how does it work?
What is assignment?
Football is a global market and the top players move constantly. David Beckham, for example, plays for clubs in England, Spain, America, Italy and France during the course of the game. The professional players contract with clubs with a fixed term of up to five years. If a player moves before the contract expires, the new club pays to compensate for the old club. This is called a transfer fee.
When does the transfer take place?
Twice a year, FIFA rules offer two annual time periods in which clubs can be purchased from foreign players, called transfer windows. The window of transfer is longer in the middle of the season and shorter in the season, but the exact time is determined by the football association of the nations. In many European countries, the summer transfer window closes on August 31. In the US, closed on August 9.
Where does the money come from?
Football is an outstanding subject of money. According to Deloitte’s analysis, 20 of the world’s richest clubs – all across Europe – earned 7.4 billion euros (8.9 billion dollars) in 2015/16 revenue. The top money club is Manchester United, reaching 689 million euros. Commercial sources such as sponsorships and goods accounted for 43% of revenue – the largest share. So there will definitely be a lot of PSG Neymar shirts. Selling broadcasting rights accounts for 39%, but ticket sales are only about 18%. These numbers do not include transfer fees, but clubs can also make money by selling players.
Is football always big money?
Previously not as much as it is now. Before 1995, many European clubs had quotas for foreign players. The Bosman ruling that year banned restrictions on players from within the EU and opened up a competitive international market. The transfer fee starts to increase, the number of foreign players also increases. By 2016, nearly 70% of Premier League football players in the UK are foreigners.
Today top clubs continue to become richer. Income from television is increasing is one of the reasons. In 2016, 20 Premier League clubs signed a contract worth £ 10.4 billion ($ 13.4 billion) with TV stations. This is the most profitable television contract ever in professional football. In the UK, BT and Sky paid Premier League more than £ 10 million ($ 12.9 million) to play matches.
However, FIFA data shows that high transfer fees are not popular. In fact, only 14% of worldwide transfers last year involved payment of a transfer fee. The rest is free transfer – when the player’s contract expires and they continue to play other clubs.