UEFA calls to end transfer rights ownership

Last updated 07:53 07/12/2012

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UEFA stepped up opposition to investors owning stakes in players' transfer rights today, warning it would take action if Fifa failed to act.

UEFA's executive committee said it would introduce rules covering European club competitions "should Fifa not take the appropriate steps."

"Third-party ownership should be prohibited as a matter of principle," UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino said. "FIFA will be requested to issue the relevant worldwide regulations."

Third-party ownership allows investors to buy a stake in a player from his club, and cash in on future transfer fees.

Infantino said the "integrity of competitions" was at risk.

UEFA believes the practice distorts fairness as clubs sign players they could not otherwise afford, and allows investors to syphon money from the game.

The practice is banned in some countries, including France and England, where it was outlawed after disputes followed West Ham's signings of Argentina internationals Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano in 2006.

Third-party ownership is popular with Spanish and Portuguese clubs to recruit South American players such as Colombia forward Radamel Falcao, who was signed by FC Porto and is now with Atletico Madrid.

Fifa has said it will submit a proposal within months to its football committee, which is chaired by UEFA President Michel Platini.

Infantino said any prohibition would likely be phased in over three or four years "to enable clubs to cope."

A new Champions League-style competition for under-19 teams has been called the UEFA Youth League. UEFA said the trophy will be named in honor of Platini's predecessor Lennart Johansson of Sweden.

UEFA plans to start a two-year trial next season for a competition featuring youth teams from the 32 clubs which reach the Champions League group phase.

The UEFA project is a response to the English-run, privately owned NextGen Series for under-19 teams which launched in 2011. It includes 24 clubs from 12 countries this season, including Barcelona, Inter Milan and six English clubs.

UEFA chose the Kazakhstan capital city Astana to host its congress of member nations in 2014, and Vienna the following year. The 2013 UEFA Congress is scheduled for May 24 in London ahead of the Champions League final at Wembley Stadium.

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- AP

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