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Governing body FIFA found that international football transfer numbers and player buying fees have fallen sharply worldwide in the past six months.

Completed player deals fell by 9% in the first six months of 2012, but their total financial value plunged by more than a third, falling by 34%.

Total income from 4,973 transfers around the globe was $576 million.

The drop may be due to continued global economic problems and the forthcoming UEFA financial fair play rules.

The data was revealed by FIFA’s Transfer Matching System (TMS) organization, which uses modern electronic technology with the aim of making international football transfers more transparent and legally compliant.

“We still have to see what happens in July and August, when European transfer windows are open, to see if this [drop] is just a dip or part of a continuing trend,” said Isabelle Solal, head of integrity and compliance at FIFA TMS.

Governing body FIFA found that international football transfer numbers and player buying fees have fallen sharply worldwide in the past six months

Governing body FIFA found that international football transfer numbers and player buying fees have fallen sharply worldwide in the past six months

“However, if I personally was asked to pick reasons, I would say it is still because of economic recession and the impact of the UEFA financial fair play sanctions.

“Clubs are making an effort to balance their books, but things should be clearer by September,” said Isabelle Solal.

The figures refer to international transfers and do not cover “domestic” transfers between two clubs in the same country.

The big five European leagues – England, Germany, France, Italy and Spain – have transfer windows that run from 1 July to 31 August.

And with most of the deals done in the first half of the year taking place during the January transfer windows in Europe, these are the two months when most global trading for the second half of the year will take place.

The financial fair play rules have been introduced by European football’s governing body to ensure that clubs only spend cash, including on big-name star signings, from revenues that they have created, rather than through borrowing or handouts from rich owners.

The TMS is an online system for registering international transfers and has replaced the old set-up of documents based on paper.

In order for a transfer to be validated, the two clubs involved must enter the relevant information on the deal into the TMS system.

However, in the first six months of 2012, the amount of fines that FIFA TMS has imposed on clubs for not complying properly with transfer regulations has almost reached the total for the whole of 2011,

“We are much more effective as a compliance department, and despite the number of transfers being down, we are finding more infringements as we grow into our role,” said Isabelle Solal.

“We have a big focus on compliance education,” she added.

“We spend a lot of time trying to help clubs and associations understand the transfer market better.

“We have the technology that allows the information necessary for each transfer to be accessible to both parties, even if they are at other ends of the globe.

“It is great that sport is using the sort of technology that is widely used in business, and it is enabling us to become even more professional in our operations.”



In recent years, all other major football nations have been playing catch up as they attempt to find a way of coping with the brilliance of the Spanish team. The combination of brilliant technique, fast pass-and-move football, and robust physical presence on the ball has made the Spanish team appear almost unstoppable over the last half decade. Having first captured the European Championships in 2008, to overcome the psychological nightmare of decades of underachievement, they went on to clinch the World Cup two years later and cement their status as the dominant force in international football. So with another major tournament in full swing, the question those watching the games and/or those involved with Euro 2012 Football Betting on sites like Bwin are asking is: will this domination continue?


When looking at the all-conquering achievements of the Spanish national team over the last half decade, it should be noted that this has been paralleled by a similar dominance in club football of the Spanish side Barcelona. Perhaps the apex of this was the final of the Champions League in 2011, when Barcelona took on the best team in England – Manchester United – and made them look second rate. However this season has seen frailties begin to appear in Barcelona’s armory, as they failed to win their domestic league and were knocked out of the Champions League in the semi-finals. When you consider that Spain’s other major team – Real Madrid – also fell at the same stage, this may offer some hope to the other teams.

Throw in the continued problems being experienced by Fernando Torres, and this is further grounds to think that Spain may not have things all their own way. However, we must keep things in perspective: Torres was struggling in 2010 and Spain still won the World Cup, while Champions League semi-final appearances by both Barcelona and Real Madrid hardly constitute a collapse in Spanish domestic football. The biggest encouragement for those hoping for a genuine challenger to Spain comes in the form of the strength of other sides – most notably Germany and the Netherlands – rather than the weakness of Spain.