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At the time of writing this article, the world is mourning the passing of a football icon Diego Maradona and we are saddened by his death. Football has been a thrilling sport for decades now. What’s even more exciting is the level of investments being made into this sport, from standard stadiums to the acquisition of new players. Player transfers in soccer are popular and followed closely. But can a player refuse a transfer?
A player can refuse a transfer from his parent club to another club even though the two clubs have already stroked a deal regarding the financial aspects of the transfer. The decision to transfer is usually left to the player to see if they agree with the terms and the club to which they are being transferred. So if they aren’t comfortable, they can refuse the transfer.
In this article, we are going to discuss all the aspects of soccer transfers. So read on to get enlightened.
What Is a Transfer in Soccer?
Let’s start with the basics first. A transfer in soccer is when a player moves from one club to another. The approaching club offers a lucrative transfer amount to the parent club for the acquisition of the player’s services. The amount involved is known as a transfer fee in professional football. (If the player is still under a professional contract)
These days, clubs are changing their approach to how they view the transfers. Like any business transaction, transfers can occur in different ways. Clubs consider the footballing side and financial side of things before finalizing the transfer for a player. Clubs try to lure players from other clubs by offering them huge contracts. Contracts are detailed about the salaries, bonuses, and the squad role the player will receive upon making his decision to move.
To make things spicier, professional players these days are required to sign professional contracts when they come of age. Most of them do this with the help of transfer agents who help with negotiating the players’ interests. During transfers, agents will demand agent fees acting on behalf of the players. In our soccer world today, Mino Raiola is among the popular agents who has built his reputation for representing high profile players in transfers.
Notably, transfers can only take place twice in a season. Most people will refer to them as summer or winter transfer windows. However, players are free to move to another club if their contract has expired. No transfer fee is involved if the player has only six months left on his contracts.
Do Soccer Players Have to Agree to Transfers?
Not necessarily. As we have already mentioned, soccer players can refuse a transfer. Players, however, have to agree to a transfer before they proceed with their career to another club. When all requirements are met the player can go ahead and undergo a medical test.
When a player is placed on the transfer list, the parent expects to receive a bid from another team for his services. The parent soccer club will however have to inform the player before placing them on a transfer list to avoid any confrontation with the player. Once an offer is tabled the clubs negotiate it between themselves and if they reach a consensus the player and his agent are invited to the negotiation table.
In some scenarios, clubs would want to cut off their losses due to the players’ wages being high or the player not fulfilling his potential. The club cannot force the player out so long as he’s still under contract and would need to convince the player to move on as he’s surplus to requirements. But there are cases where the player seeks transfer requests of their own accord.
A transfer request is when a soccer player makes a formal request to his parent club to let him join another club when a proposed bid is made. Most of the pundits will tell you that transfer requests often act as a “come and get me” plea. The player notifies the other club of his interest in playing for them meaning that he has already made his decision to leave. Most of these transfers do not go smoothly and soccer clubs reject the bids made in an attempt to retain the services of their player or as tactical negotiation skill to get the largest amount of transfer fees for their star player.
So yeah, players have to agree to transfers before they move. They also have the power to decline a transfer if they still have some years left to play under their contracts.
What Percentage of Soccer Transfer Fees Go to the Players?
In most cases, players don’t get a penny of the transfer fee. Very rarely do soccer players get a percentage of their transfer fees. Only under certain circumstances do they get a portion. This is usually in cases where there is a certain clause in the contract detailing that the player should receive a percentage. Another circumstance when the player can receive a percentage of the transfer fee is if the player’s agent/legal counsel negotiates a deal with the club. It is quite rare to see a percentage of a transfer fee being awarded to the player.
With now more investments being made in soccer, transfers have now become a complex issue. These days, the transfer fee mostly goes to clubs, former clubs, and also to agents. For instance, PSG in France forked up €222 M to acquire the services of Neymar from Barcelona. In the next year €145m was used for the acquisition of Kylian Mbappe from Monaco. The huge sums involved have led to speculations as to what percentage of the fees do the players receive.
In 2013, the world’s football governing body, FIFA launched an investigation regarding the astronomical figures involved in the name of transfers. The then FIFPro president claimed that the transfer does not include the player’s welfare concerns. It’s claimed that agents pocket a lot of money- about 28% whereas the players do not receive any amount of the transfer fee.
The discrepancies in the percentage of fees being paid have led to players being left vulnerable to crimes such as match-fixing. Former players turned pundits even claim that nowadays players do not enjoy their careers since most of them are constrained by the compensation and transfer fee costs.
Depending on the various clauses inserted in each player’s contracts, the percentage of transfer fees also varies. The clause may have a section detailing that the player should receive a certain percentage of the transfer fee. This is quite rare. In cases where minimal clauses are involved, approximately 10% will go to the player’s agent while 5% to the player’s former club. During the negotiation process, the player will negotiate to get bonuses like goal bonuses apart from their salaries and wages.
In short, the dynamic environment in football today has led to changes in how transfers are carried out. Some transfers appear to benefit clubs on the commercial side and so most recently more clubs have been leaning towards this direction.