monday, 26 february of 2018

FIFA Transfer Matching System - TMS

André Gribel de Castro Minervino

The Regulation on the Status and Transfer of Players – RSTP states in the item 13 of its definitions that TMS as “a web-based data information system with the primary objective of simplifying the process of international player transfers as well as improving transparency and the flow of information”.

The mentioned tool aims towards1 improving the credibility of the transfer system by providing detailed information about international transactions. It also allows tracking money involved in transfers with the intention of avoiding the occurrence of money-laundering, fraud and other criminal activities. In addition to that, TMS’s imposition of certain rules for the registration of minors searches for their protection against being exploited or left unassisted in foreign countries.

TMS offers both International – ITMS and Domestic – DTMS systems. On one hand, the first one is mandatory for affiliated members of FIFA and, on the other hand, the second one is only recommended.
According to the Global Transfer Market Report of 2018, from 2010 to 2017, the ITMS registered more than 94 thousand international transfers of professional players which involved around 29 billion dollars. In order for the world of football to stay balanced, the considerable amount of money mentioned needs to be distributed not only for the selling teams, but also to the smaller clubs that were involved in the training and education of the player. The ITMS plays an important role here.

When registering a player, the association is obliged by FIFA to issue a passport to “indicate the club(s) with which the player has been registered since the season of his 12th birthday2 and for the international transfer of this athlete, the former national federation must upload to the ITMS a copy of the mentioned passport3. The record of the passport allows the specification of the clubs that trained the professional from the age of 12 to 21 and that are entitled to receive training compensation4. This allows the developing clubs a share of the asset they helped create.

The ITMS also registers whether the professional is being transferred within the course of a contract or as a free agent. In the first scenario, a solidarity contribution is due to the clubs that helped the improvement of the skills of the player from the age of 12 until the age of 235 and the registration of the passport enables such identification.

In order for the system to work as smoothly as shown, sanction must be previewed for violators. Such punishments are stated in article 9.3 of the Annex 3 of FIFA RSTP and they include warning, fine, exclusion from competition, demotion to a lower division and transfer ban.

Even though ITMS made a great and benefic impact in the global market, the fact that DTMS is not mandatory results in issues for the uploading of information to the international data base. Federations that use DTMS can “manage and monitor their domestic transfer activity, generate statistics and reports, speed up the transfer process and store required documents online, safely. As an extension of ITMS, the system allows the federation to access international and domestic transfers in one place6. However, affiliated-members that do not use the DTMS may face problems when filling the ITMS for international transfers since they might not have all the necessary data in their system. This incompatibility with non-user countries may result in the delay and unclarity of the transfer because of paper work problems such as missing documents, unsent faxes and so on, issues that were face by FIFA before establishing the TMS.

Having said that, since FIFA is the organizer of professional organized eleven-a-side football worldwide, it should determine that all of its members migrate from their national systems to the DTMS with a reasonable vacation legis in order to uniformize the system as a whole, starting at the national stage, and not only at the global level.


1 FIFA Regulation on the Status and Transfer of Players, 2018, p. 47

2 Op. cit. p. 12

3 Op. cit. p. 57

4 Op. cit. p. 68

5 Op. cit. 70



*André Gribel de Castro Minervino is post graduate in Material and Procedural Labor Law in Instituto Brasiliense de Direito Público - IDP and master's degree in Instituto Superior de Derecho y Economia - ISDE Madrid.

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