Introduction of modern Australian Domestic Transfer System reaches key milestone

A pivotal step in the establishment of a modern Australian Domestic Transfer System was realised today with the release of Football Australia’s Domestic Transfer System Transformation White Paper (White Paper).

Developed throughout the fourth quarter of 2020, the White Paper will serve as the basis for discussion and consultation with key and relevant stakeholders over the coming months as the specifics of a fit-for-purpose Australian Domestic Transfer System are considered.

It is the latest in a series of steps which have been taken by Football Australia to bring to life the Starting XI’s recommendation to the Football Australia Board to establish a new and modern domestic transfer system to address some of Australian football’s player production challenges.

This recommendation by the Starting XI was embodied in ‘Principle III’ of Football Australia’s ‘XI Principles - for the future of Australian football’ (XI Principles), which identified the stimulation and growth of the Australian football economy as a strategic priority for Australian football to address some of the player development challenges outlined in Football Australia’s Performance Gap reports, via the establishment of a new and modern domestic transfer system. This system will ensure that clubs, at all levels of the sport, are appropriately incentivised to invest in the training and development of players continuously and sustainably.

Football Australia’s transfer system webinar series in November and December of 2020 provided a unique insight from some of the world’s leading global football organisations, including the European Club Association, Manchester United and Olympiakos.

Football Australia Chief Executive Officer, James Johnson said:

“2020 was a difficult year. Despite this, Football Australia took the opportunity to return to its football core and saw the organisation take transformative steps which culminated in the establishment of a bold and innovative vision for the game in the form of the XI Principles.

“To highlight a significant year for the game in 2020, we also successfully secured hosting rights for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, underwent an internal reshaping to ensure we are ready to implement our strategic agenda, renamed the organisation, revamped the FFA Cup and recently announced the unbundling of the Professional Leagues,” Johnson added.

“The publication of the White Paper, following the Transfer System webinars late last year, is another significant step as we look to bring to life the XI Principles and we are excited to lead with this strategic initiative in 2021."

Johnson also emphasised the establishment of a modern, fit-for-purpose domestic transfer system as a vital link in the Australian football landscape and the role of Football Australia in regulating both the Professional Leagues and growing the game more broadly to create more benefits throughout the ecosystem.

“The absence of a domestic transfer system has meant that Australian football has been unable to fully integrate into world football by embedding itself in the global football market which has led to lost economic and sporting opportunities for our game over many years,” Johnson said.

“In 2019, FIFA reported that Australia received just US$1.9 million in transfer receipts from a market currently valued at US$7.35 billion for men alone. This low figure received by Australian clubs is
in stark contrast to many nations of a similar or lower international ranking than our National Teams, and to many countries with significantly smaller populations than Australia. It also highlights that Australian clubs, from the professional right down to the grassroots, are missing out on vital funds that could be used to underpin and enhance the sport.

“The establishment of a modern Domestic Transfer System in 2021 by Football Australia will seek to remedy the ‘gap’ that has been created in the Australian football ecosystem by providing opportunities to progressive clubs at all levels of the sport to generate new revenue streams which can be deployed into the ongoing training and development of players, and the clubs themselves.

“We believe that the implementation of a fit-for-purpose system will have transformational benefits for football in Australia and particularly our professional and grassroots clubs by reconnecting the game and stimulating growth,” Johnson concluded.

The White Paper identifies several key elements of a properly functioning transfer system for consideration and discussion in the context of transforming the domestic transfer system:

  1. Administration of Transfers
  2. Training Rewards and Young Players
  3. Loans
  4. Player Eligibility Rules
  5. Registration Windows
  6. Transfer Fees
  7. Special Provisions Relating to Contracts
  8. Agents
  9. Dispute Resolution and Player Status Resolution
  10. Private Academies; and
  11. Recent amendments by FIFA (Coaches and Women)

The White Paper also poses a series of questions in relation to each of the elements which are intended to provide a framework for structured and transparent consultation, and to encourage and facilitate informed dialogue regarding a uniquely Australian domestic transfer system.

Football Australia will commence a consultation and engagement process with clubs, players, and other key stakeholders early this year.

The Domestic Transfer System Transformation White Paper can be accessed here.