Volume: 10 Issue: 7
FIFA is considering on-site auditing of clubs to ensure compliance with its Transfer Matching System (TMS). "More advanced investigation techniques are being developed", said Isabelle Solal, Head of Integrity & Compliance at FIFA TMS GmbH at World Sports Law Report's Player Contracts conference, 5 July 2012.
"We are investigating the possibilities of on-site audits and witnessed interviews. Very broad investigatory powers are given to us by the regulations." When asked if this could involve turning up at a club and asking to see their documentation, Solal said "we're not ruling anything out at the moment".
The TMS requires clubs to use an online system to file information allowing FIFA to approve international transfers. This includes all payment details, intermediaries used and commission. FIFA hopes TMS will replace its requirement that only agents licensed by national associations are used in transfers, as all agents are recorded whether licensed or not.
Clubs currently receive notice that a player transfer is being investigated. If the club does not supply missing documentation, this is followed by a so-called 'speeding ticket', which alerts them to sanctions. The club can either accept the sanctions, or it is referred to FIFA's Disciplinary Committee. Solal said that 72% of cases are resolved after the first letter is sent, but there is concern that this process allows too much room for manoeuvre.
Article 7.4 of Annexe 3 of FIFA's Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (2010) gives FIFA TMS GmbH extensive investigatory powers. 'FIFA TMS GmbH shall investigate matters in relation to international transfers or first registrations of minors with clubs in a country of which they are not nationals', it reads. 'All parties in relation to transfers or first registrations of minors...are obliged to collaborate to establish the facts. In particular, they shall comply, upon reasonable notice, with requests for any documents, information or any other material of any nature held by the parties. In addition, the parties shall comply with the procurement and provision of documents, information or any other material...not held by the parties but which the parties are entitled to obtain. Non-compliance with these requests from FIFA TMS GmbH may lead to sanctions.'
FIFA TMS GmbH is also securing data release from national associations that will enable it to clearly identify which national associations are complying with its TMS requirements. Solal has been replaced by Kimberly Morris.