Football Transfers Explained

Footballing player transfers have grown and evolved throughout time to the point where world class players like Carlos Tevez, can sign for West Ham on a free, but proceed to move onto bigger and better things with a sell-on fee reaching into the ten’s of millions, of which West Ham do not see a penny of.

Gone were the simple times of two football clubs agreeing a fee for a player. Nowadays, agents have a comfortable seat at the luxurious transfer board table, shouting orders at both club and player. If that wasn’t enough, large conglomerate entities that sponsor the players, also have a hand in decision making.

For example, if Adidas have the sponsor holding rights of a player that wishes to move to a club where the main sponsor is their major competitor, a conflict of interest looms over the deal. Hence, the sponsors need to intervene with the aid of lawyers before a player can move. It has been known that a player may make a u-turn on joining a club after consulting with his sponsors. Longwinded transfers are normally due to the player’s image rights and/or sponsor negotiations.

Transfers also revolve around the risk-factor (RF) the player carries with him. If the insurance organisations behind the club deny them cover for a player they wish to be transferred to their club, the deal is likely to fall through. Just like your own personal credit rating, professional players have a RF attached to them. Hazardous injuries, age, and off-the-field disputes play a major role in the RF rating of a player.

Footballers are now also permitted to take a medical with an interested club, even prior to the fee being rubber-stamped. An estimated fee does need to be arranged and approved by both parties before the player can take a medical with the interested party.

Pre-Fee Medicals, as they are known, are carried out if the interested club is not entirely confident with the players RF rating, although this may not be the only reason. Any reason can be given by the interested club. If the club holding the players registration view it as valid reason, the pre-fee medical can take place. Once the player has been cleared by the interested club’s medical team, the final negotiations surrounding the fee can be arranged.

Pyramid Transfers are also a common occurrence in today’s game. A pyramid transfer is where a player’s fee may be set at £10 million by his club. That valuation may fall short of the value placed on him by the interested club. The interested party may offer a down payment of approximately 60% of the fee (in our case £6 million). The further 40% can be agreed by both parties looking at many avenues open to them. For example, the remaining 40% can be paid in seasonal instalments, with added interest being allocated for the duration of the repayment.

Some clubs agree to the remaining balance being paid on appearances or achievements with the player at the club. This method is the most commonly used mode by most clubs within Europe.

Player exchanges are also common in our game. A player wanting out of a club may be worth more than the budget of the interested club allows. In such cases, the interested club may allow the other party to take a pick of one or more players from a list. As long as the player moving in the other direction agrees to the deal, the transfer can take place.

Non-Registration transfers are not a common occurrence within the British game, but are fairly common in the French, Spanish, Italian and South American leagues. A player may be purchased by a third-party organisation. These entities are normally financed by businessmen, but run by agents and in some cases, former players, scouts and coaches.

Their interest lies with making as much money from the player in a short period of time as possible. Third party organisations can hold as many player registrations as they wish. The procedure is simple. An organisation hires scouts or agents to find them a player(s) with extreme potential playing at a small club. It is in the interests of the third party if the player is in his late teens and also if the club the player is registered to is having financial difficulties.

The third party carries out negotiations with the club for the player. These negotiations normally entail a transfer fee. The fee is calculated at a slightly higher market value than the present worth of the player. The remaining salary that the player was to receive from the club is deducted from the fee also.

If the negotiations go well, the third party takes control of the registration of the player. In effect, this means that the player is owned by another entity and not the club he plays for.

The third party organisation drafts a new contract between the club and themselves (not the player). The contract is often short, in the region of one or two seasons. The player is paid by the third party and holds all the rights of that player, including sponsorship and media rights. Player’s under a third party contract are often paid more than those who are contracted to a club. This is due to the investment of time and energy the player will need to make.

Most third party players are asked to commit more hours per week to training. A coaching team is normally set up for the player so as to ensure that he receives all the necessary training and development needed to enhance his all-round ability.

The aim of the third party is to move the player onto a bigger stage, namely, a bigger club, playing in a well established league. All transfer fees are given to the third party organisation.

Loan transfers are when a player is moved to another club for a duration of time. The club holds onto the player’s registration. Some loan transfers require the club purchasing the loan to pay the players wages for the duration of the loan. Sometimes a small fee is involved. A future permanent transfer fee can also be agreed.

Some clubs in France have been known to calculate a formula regarding a future transfer fee. The two clubs involved can base the fee on a projected performance basis. For instance, if the club purchasing the loan player makes the European qualification spots due the player’s reported impact, the fee is calculated to equal x. If the club make no improvement with the player in it, the fee is calculated to equal y (if the interested party still wishes to purchase the player permanently that is).

Co-ownership is a rare occurrence in some leagues within Europe and South America. Two or more clubs may own a percentage in a player’s registration. The ownership is never split equally. The club holding the higher percentage of the player’s registration can often dictate where the player plays, but is not in control of the player’s sponsorship and/or media rights. Third party organisations have been known to also own a share in a co-ownership registration.

Player Leasing is a procedure that has not yet taken place in any of the British leagues. A player is registered to one club. That player is then loaned to another club for a period of no more than three seasons. Each season the player is with another club, that club pay a seasonal fee depending on negotiations carried out between the clubs. The club that is hiring the registration of the player is not allowed to return the player in the first season, but can return the player after the first season is over, even if the lease contract lasts for a further two seasons. Again, the fee is based on appearances and progression with the club.

Free transfers/Bosman Ruling & Compensation Releases are when a player has either reached the end of their contract and wish to leave the club they are with, or are released by a club for various reasons. Compensation Releases are when a club, normally suffering from financial difficulties can no longer pay the player’s wage. If no interested party is found, the club, with the aid of the administrators, can structure a package for the player. If the player is owed a further million on his contract, the club can agree to make a one-off payment to the player for £500,000. If the player agrees, the payment is made and the player and club cut their ties.

Sometimes, an interested party is found that is willing to take the player off the books of the troubled club. The interested club will not agree to pay the player the same high wage his is currently on. In this case, the player’s current club, who are desperate to move the player on, will pay the difference in salary for the current duration of the player’s contract. This is something Leeds United sought to do.

There are many other transfer modes that take place in the world’s leagues. We cannot do a write-up on all of them unfortunately. We hope this article has further educated the Footballing public.

Our research for this article has been taken from SportsCube Inc, INM Ltd, Opinum Loklater Ltd & David Gochen. We appreciate the assistance given by these parties.

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  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. leave them alone. yesterday they posted a rumour and a bunch of readers delighted in jumpimg down their throats to tell them there could not be a medical without a fee agreed. any criticism of this is that it ia rather long-winded way of showing that they take the care to learm more about the subject than most morons who repond with foul mouthed diatribes, or even foul mouthed brevity mr 1:42

  3. To be fair this is very interesting and tells us a lot about how transfers work.

    I think alot of the abuse you get for it will come from people who actually didn't know all this, and feel insulted for it.

    Well done on the research.

  4. and now THBN are posting as anons saying well done to themselves


  5. I am Mr Anonymous 1:58

    I have no allegiance to this blog, but I do have an allegiance against igorant morons.

  6. If its that boring then fuck off you cunt!

  7. Completely agree. Very interesting and thanks for sharing. I learned something. Those that criticised probably didn't take the time to read it...

  8. This is a very basic article that tells me, and I would assume most of us, what we already know.

    So tell me, after writing this why would you make a claim that Kaboul will sign in the next two weeks when clearly you have no clue :)

    Is it two weeks? three? five?

    Perhaps you should ask his sponsor :p

  9. Anyone who's played Champo would know all of that. It's not rocket science.

  10. He's made no reference to the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players, which enables players in certain circumstances to terminate their contracts by serving notice.

  11. Why is this shit on Newsnow?

    It's not news. It's more evidence of "dumbing down" on the internet.

    Eventually, we shall all evolve into morons.

  12. Agreed what a load of Shit

  13. Shitty shit shit shit shit.

  14. "Football Transfers for Mongs" would have been a better title.

  15. I don’t see how this changes a thing THBN has said about the Kaboul transfer that was still a load of shit.

    However which ever tosser wrote that about the author is a complete twat. Now that’s called hiding before the anonymous name


    Thought he was gonna sign 48 hrs ago ,oh hold on that was 150 hours ago !

    What other breaking news do you have for us ?

    IN 48 hours THBN predicts it will be Saturday sometime ?

  17. BORING! i lost interest after the 1st 3 paragraphs. when's kabaul coming?

  18. Why we do not need insulting idiots to prove the point about THBN they do it themselves just look at their 2005 posts there are loads

    99% turn out to be nonsense

    A few examples

    Why we need to move – There opinion

    Do we need Jenas - There opinion

    Spurs offer Kanoute – Widely know it was happening just like Mido now

    Are spurs lining up a new Sporting Director – nonsense story linking us with Mark Wotte (a later story on THBN stated the delay in signing Davids was because Quote “We are going to sign Mark Wotte as our new Sporting Director, and again, Levy has to sanction the deal”

    Spurs going Double Dutch – according to THNB Medicals were completing and Davids and Andy van der Meyde were going to sign on the same day

    New targets Linked – Van der Meyde Kuyt and Sneijder need I say anymore

    We may sign another player – THBN were informed late last night that Daniel Levy is in negotiations to sign another top-class player. We have no details apart from that the player in question will break the clubs previous transfer record of the £11 million we paid Dynamo Kiev for Rebrov - Needless to say in never happened.

  19. I'm confused... which anonymous is which? I read the article with interest but then anonymous got me confused he soon said it was a good article then a bad one... is there a Dr Jekyll and a Mr Hide amongst us?
    Yours Spursly,

  20. 2.29 PM ... You're a disgrace to the human race. Do everyone a favour and drop out of the gene pool you cnut!

  21. Blimey, seems that a lot of you supposed yids have a problem reading more than a paragraph without getting a headache! Your mental impotence is no need to get all sweary. This is THBN's blog and they can print whatever the fuck they like, news or not.

    The article is actually interesting if 1) Didn't know how transfers worked already 2) Can read past primary level 3. So get back in your boxes... silly cunts.


  22. Fuck off Blimey, you nonce.

  23. 3.15pm can fuck off and die.

  24. In other news, Sugar has sold his holding to ENIC.

  25. Why did we let slabber leave?

    I is a genius who bangs in the posts with surgicalaplomb!

  26. Robbo has excess flab.

  27. The Schimitar to United.

    DONE DEAL!!1

  28. We're a selling club aren't we?

  29. Well done on spelling out the whole system.

    The Internet is full of backward loudmouths who want these blogs to act like a f*cking vending machine when it comes to rumours, but are as thick as paint when it comes to understanding the mechanics involved.

    Then it's the bloggers fault when the player isn't on the official site within half an hour.

    Some of these jockeys act as if they paid for the info.

    Bottom line?

    Well done, keep up the good work and all the little know it alls can whistle on their way back to their rubbish little lives.


  30. 1.42

    Condescending c*nts?

    You obviously meant 'consenting c*nts' and were calling out to your female relatives.

  31. These comments simply underline the need for a proper site and forum!

    All these anonymous cunts are making me sick.

    And finally some sense from Harry Hotspur! What next? Wenger might see something?

  32. Blogs are a victory for the morons.

  33. Sizzling sambuca.

    You lot are fucking spazmonkeys.

    Can someone sum the article up in three sentances before I read it?


  34. Shut up Dimi.


    Spurs are crap.


  35. This is the worst blog I've ever seen.

  36. When Villa had Ugo Ehiogu and Ian Taylor, I used to call them Aston Gorilla.

    That's racist.

  37. Anonymous is the worst blog responder thingymajig I've ever seen.

    That's right Anonymous, I'm calling you out! PUT YOUR DUKES UP!

  38. Is this the interweb?

  39. The interweb is the other way.

    Go back on yourself and take the second left, head straight and it's in the building shaped like a rampant rabit, go around the back and you'll see it through the window.

  40. I'd like to go to a disco.

  41. You're all disgusting, you fundamentalist hooligans.

    Liking Spurs is like licking creosote.

  42. This is the best beastiality blog on the web.

    Nice work

  43. Where is the horse porn?

  44. Are you pushing it out?

  45. They need to sort out the buses on Tottenham High Road before they start spending silly money on players.

  46. AIDS is the new rape.

  47. Would you rather commit rape or get AIDS?

    Moral questions abound.

  48. Thats a toughy.

    Rape is fun but it's over too quick.

    I'll take AIDS please.

  49. AIDs is only funny when it happens to other people.

  50. I've got AIDS. It's really not that bad. I sometimes feel a bit off in the morning but a wank with my thumb up my arse soon sorts that out.

  51. All the pills you get to take in the morning replace breakfast thus saving money.

    It's a win win situation.

  52. How did you get your AIDs?

  53. I got a blood tranfusion from a gay man with AIDS. His name was Harry Hotspur.

  54. Buying a condom - £1
    A high class hooker - £500
    Taking out the option to spunk inside her - £250
    The look on her face when you reveal that you have AIDS - Priceless

    Chase the bug, live the dream.

  55. Not even from bum love, that's the worst type.

  56. What's the condom for?

  57. Dont use the Condom.

    That would be a waste of the £250 extra spunking option

  58. I feel like chicken tonight.

  59. I have a new idea.

    Freeze the spunk filled condom and then fuck her with it till it melts.

    I'd pay £250 extra for some of that.

  60. You'd get a really cold knob though.

  61. Use it like a dildo.


  62. Thanks for the article Jaymes. I've always wondered how transfers work.

  63. I got the AIDS from an AA man.

  64. yea jaymes marsh is a cunt, and you know what... the reason that idiot spells james with a Y is because he made it up anyway..his real name is Avel Panayiotou.. what a fuckin idiot. i went to school with him, thats how i know. Tell me how you go from avel to jaymes, and from panayiotou to marsh?? WTF