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Football players' union to challenge the transfer market

FIFPro, the organisation that represents professional footballers around the world, is to launch a legal action against the validity of the football transfer market, which it claims amounts to a restraint of trade, reports The Telegraph.

The organisation that represents professional footballers believes that the current 'transfer market' system, which effectively limits the transfer of players between clubs and at particular times of year, amounts to a restraint of trade.

FIFPro represents some 70,000 professional footballers around the world and claims that football's artificial rules surrounding transfers are unlike any other industry.

As a result, they are preparing to launch a legal challenge to the system, which they will bring to the European Court of Justice and possibly the European Court of Human Rights.

Speaking of the legal action, FIFPro president, Philippe Piat, said: "The transfer system fails 99 per cent of players around the world, it fails football as an industry and it fails the world's most beloved game."

Mr Piat was appointed recently and upon starting in his new job announced that an overhaul of football transfers was his top priority.

FIFPro cites the statistic that 28% of all revenues from football transfers goes to external agents who broker the deals, essentially taking around £500m out of the game of football every year.

FIFPro wants to see a deregulation of football transfers, such that they would be free to move to a new club by handing in their notice, as any other professional would do if they sought new employment.

Football clubs are likely to strongly resist any move to deregulate the transfer of players. Clubs have long argued that the training of a footballer is expensive, and that the transfer fee reimburses a club for player development whilst they are under their tutelage.

The clubs also argue that free movement would completely destabilise club football, with clubs no longer able to rely on a group of individuals to maintain their first team and players free to leave when they wish. The move would most probably result in an end to football 'transfer fees' as they exist at present.