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FIFA to outlaw third-party ownership

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Outside companies will no longer be permitted to own shares in the economic rights of footballers.

Ronald Martinez

FIFA president Sepp Blatter today announced that the governing body is to outlaw third-party ownership within football. Speaking following a meeting of FIFA's executive committee, Blatter told the world's press "We took a firm decision that TPO should be banned but it cannot be banned immediately – there will be a transitional period."

A working group will be formed, to be chaired by former chairman of the English Football Association Geoff Thompson. A precise timetable has not been announced but Jérôme Valcke, secretary general of FIFA, estimates that the transitional period will last "three or four years".

Already banned in a number of countries, third-party ownership is commonplace in Brazil and Argentina and has become increasingly popular in Portugal. It is an attractive option for clubs struggling with debt, as it involves exchanging a portion of a player's economic rights for immediate cash, but it has long been claimed that inappropriate influence can be exerted as a result.

Recent high profile transfers including the moves of Marcos Rojo to Manchester United and Neymar to Barcelona have demonstrated the confusion and conflicts of interest that can arise. Recently, UEFA, the governing body of European football, announced that it would take unilateral action if FIFA did not. Now there will be no need.