FIFA Group Asks for Ban on Investors Owning Transfer Rights

World soccer ruling body FIFA says it will consider a request to stop investors from buying stakes in the transfer rights of players.

Southern European clubs including Porto, Benfica and Atletico Madrid are selling the stakes as banks shut off credit. The practice, known as third-party ownership in English soccer, was banned by the Premier League in 2007 after it obstructed Carlos Tevez’s move to Manchester United.

FIFA’s so-called Football Committee, led by Michel Platini, asked the Zurich-based ruling body’s administration to submit a proposal by the end of March, according to an e-mailed statement today. Platini, who is president of European soccer governing body UEFA, has said the practice is draining clubs of their wealth.

The investment model began in South America in the 1990s with agents acquiring stakes from clubs in the future fees of players they represented. Globally, it could now be worth more than $500 million to soccer clubs, according to Julio Senn, a partner at Madrid-based law firm Senn, Ferrero, Asociados Sports & Entertainment SLP.

The proposal will be submitted by the end of March. Any rule change would need to be approved by FIFA’s Congress, which next meets in May.

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