Following on from my previous blog with regards to the highly questionable practices of some clubs when it comes to the transfer of young children, here’s a possible solution which will be fair to both buying and selling clubs as well as to the player and above all appears to have no legal complications.
First of all, I’m of the firm belief that the parents or legal guardians should be the only people with the responsabilty of the childs future until reaching the legal age of 18…not any football club, FIFA or anyone else.
When a child goes to a club at say 10 years of age, the parents, NOT the child will be required to sign a legal contract stating that should the player get transferred to a professional club, an agreed, predetermined percentage of his annual earnings be paid to the club for the same number of years that he had spent with them. It could be 10, 15, 20% or a figure that is acceptable to both parties. So if a child goes to a club at age 11 and is transferred at 16, the percentage of his earnings will be paid for 5 years.
There could be an argument that clubs may be more savvy and have an advantage over the parents when it comes to negotiating a percentage. That’s where the parents will need to obtain advise from solicitors, accountants or someone similar.
An alternative possibility will be for FIFA to set what it considers to be a fair, standard percentage for such contracts. If on the other hand no contract exist, the club will not have a leg to stand on because it would have willingly accepted to develop the child without the protection of a contract. The percentage in these contracts should have an option of being reviewed every year depending on how the child is progressing or it can last for the duration of the childs development.
Under this system, if a player fails to make the grade he will not need to pay the club anything, if another becomes a lower grade player his earnings will be limited as will his payments but if one really hits the bigtime, the original club will receive a good return on its investment.
The other benefit is that it should stop small clubs demanding outlandish transfer fees, big ones offering peanuts and all the legal wranglings will be avoided.
I can understand that this may not be a perfect solution, that some tweaking may be required but surely, it must be a proposal that should be seriously considered.