ZURICH (AP) - FIFA has agreed to ban “third-party ownership” of players which allows outside investors to profit from transfers.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter said a working group will now draft detailed rules, which will need to be phased in over several seasons.
The decision on Friday is a political victory for UEFA and its president, Michel Platini, who have repeatedly urged FIFA to act.
“I am very happy for players that FIFA has followed UEFA’s initiative and recommendation to outlaw the practice of third-party ownership,” Platini said in a statement.
Third-party ownership (TPO) is popular with agents, investors and clubs in Latin America, Spain and Portugal. It was banned in England following a controversy over Carlos Tevez signing for West Ham in 2006.
Supporters argue it helps clubs sign players they could otherwise not afford.
UEFA believes the practice drains huge sums of money from the sport, and leads players to be transferred regularly to generate profits for their part-owners.
“It threatens the integrity of our competitions, damages football’s image, poses a long-term threat to clubs’ finances and even raises questions about human dignity,” Platini said.
The global group of players’ unions also opposes what it sees as investors interfering in players’ careers.
“A TPO ban cannot come soon enough,” FIFPro Secretary-General Theo van Seggelen said in a statement. “Every day that TPO exists is a lost day.”
The FIFA panel drafting rules will meet next week.
FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said details will be agreed by the executive committee in December or March.
Valcke suggested a full ban could take effect in three or four years.
Clubs need time to buy out some investors and for existing contracts of players affected to expire.
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