The European Club Association (ECA) held its 12th General Assembly in Barcelona on the 3rd and 4th of March 2014. 151 Member Clubs from 52 different national associations attended the two-day event.

Study on The Transfer System in Europe

Further to a study published by the European Commission in 2012, the current Transfer System has recently become subject of intense discussions in the world of football. It has been noted that the focus of these discussions is often led by individual opinions and personal experiences with little focus on detailed financial and data-based analysis. It is for this reason that ECA felt the need to commission a study highlighting the reality governing the transfer system. The aim of this study, based on real figures from official sources and focussing on a European perspective, is to understand how the current transfer system operates in order to provide a more credible and reliable basis for discussion. The Study offers an in-depth overview of all the incoming and outgoing transfer transactions involving European clubs over a two-year period. The ECA Executive Board mandated PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and LIUC University to carry out this work.

In summary, the study allows to formulate the following assumptions:

  • The football industry is not different to the rest of the economy.
  • Clubs' revenue growth is absorbed by employee costs.
  • Money redistribution from top to bottom is a fact.
  • The current transfer system counters competitive imbalance.
  • Out-of-contract transfers represent the majority of total international transfers.
  • The collection of solidarity contribution has to be enhanced.
  • Club agent commissions are significantly high.
  • The majority of total international loans involve Under-23 players.

An abstract of the report outlining key outcomes can be found attached. The full report is available for download here.

New Executive Board Member

Further to the resignation of Zoran Mamic (now head coach at GNK Dinamo), Celtic FC CEO Peter Lawwell was elected to join the ECA Executive Board for the remaining period of the running membership cycle, which lasts until the end of the 2014/15 season.

As previously mentioned, the decision regarding Sandro Rosell's replacement in the ECA Executive Board and the UEFA Professional Strategy Council has been postponed until a later date.

Financial Fair Play

In his opening speech, ECA Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge reiterated ECA's support for UEFA's Financial Fair Play Regulations. With the coming into force of the break-even requirement, the project is now entering its crucial phase. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge underlined that ECA expects the regulations to be implemented in a serious way. He reminded members that they unanimously endorsed the project at the ECA General Assembly in Manchester back in 2010. ECA will continue to collaborate with UEFA on the matter. All ECA Members are supportive of the approach.

Commenting on Financial Fair Play, ECA Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said:

     "Much time and effort was invested in this project. There is no way back and we cannot afford to take it nice and easy. Financial Fair Play is not a punishment; it is an opportunity for all of us. I can only call on UEFA to act in the most serious way possible when it comes to ensuring the full implementation."