Domestic Transfer System to drive player production and kick start Australian football economy

Football Federation Australia (FFA) today released the first in a series of webinars discussing the establishment of a modern Domestic Transfer System (DTS), the benefits and challenges of the system, and the potential for reform and evolution in Australia.

The webinars, which will be released between November 28 and December 10, feature some of the game’s top executives from the world’s leading football organisations, such as Manchester United FC and the European Club Association, who lend their deep knowledge and expertise to wide-ranging discussions covering the fundamentals of the global transfer system and its application in the Australian context.

In the XI Principles for the future of Australian football, Principle III is dedicated to stimulating the growth of the Australian football economy, via the establishment of a modern DTS, and the associated integration of the Australian ecosystem into the global transfer market.

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FFA Chief Executive Officer, Mr James Johnson, has extensive experience with, and knowledge of, transfer systems through his time at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and as Head of Professional Football at FIFA, and believes the introduction of a fit-for-purpose Australian DTS would have telling benefits for the sport.

“Australian football has not operated with a properly functioning modern transfer system for some time, creating a ‘gap’ in the Australian football ecosystem, which requires remedy,” Johnson said. “This is no more evident than in the total value of transfers received. The total global value of international transfers continues to grow, with FIFA reporting that this reached USD7.35 billion in 2019 and yet Australia received less than USD2 million for the same period – this represents a significant loss of opportunity for Australian clubs, players, and the game, generally.”

“In June this year, FFA’s ‘Starting XI’ – which features some of the most internationally experienced minds in Australian football – recommended that we introduce a DTS, understanding that a well-governed and fit-for-purpose system would provide much-needed stimulus to the Australian football economy, and lay the platform for Australia to further access the international transfer market.

“Importantly, a modern DTS would help address some of the player development challenges we have identified in our Performance Gap studies by ensuring that clubs, at all levels of the game, are appropriately incentivised to continuously and sustainably invest in the training and development of players.

“The aim of our webinars, and the subsequent release of a DTS Reform White Paper in December, is to raise awareness of the global transfer system and encourage and facilitate discourse on the DTS,” he said.

The first webinar, accessible here and via the video player below, features football broadcaster Simon Hill speaking with Socceroos Head Coach Graham Arnold and Adelaide United FC Football Director, Bruce Djite, regarding their experiences with transfer systems.

Patrick Stewart, General Counsel at Manchester United, and Lina Souloukou, General Manager at Olympiakos, will join Mel McLaughlin for the second webinar, as transfer system strategies and insights are explored in conversation with representatives from two of European football’s biggest clubs.

In the third webinar, Mark Bosnich will be joined by Jose Luis Andrade, General Counsel of the European Clubs Association, and Dr Erkut Sogut, Vice Present of the Professional Agent’s Association, as the foundations of the system and its operations are explored.

In mid-December, FFA will release a DTS Reform White Paper that will serve as a conduit to stakeholder engagement throughout the process of crafting Australia’s DTS framework, with all stakeholders afforded the opportunity to contribute. The release of the DTS Reform White Paper will represent a key miletone in the establishment of Australia’s modern DTS, and outline a prospective timeline for implementation. 

Note to editors: Football Federation Australia is currently transitioning to the new Company Name ‘Football Australia’. The transition from Football Federation Australia to ‘Football Australia’ received unanimous Congress support at FFA’s seventeenth Annual General Meeting held on Wednesday, 25 November 2020.