Fifa to introduce ban on third-party ownership of players

By Richard ConwayBBC Radio 5 live sports news correspondent
Fifa headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland
Fifa is holding its autumn executive committee meeting in Zurich, Switzerland

Fifa has agreed to ban the third-party ownership (TPO) of players.

Already banned in Britain, TPO is common in Europe and South America, where investment companies take a stake in the economic rights of players.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter said there will be a "transitional period" before the ban comes into effect.

Manchester City's £32m purchase of Eliaquim Mangala from Porto was one of four major deals that went through in England this past summer involving TPO.

English clubs who wish to buy players co-owned by an investor and a team are already required to buy out the contract rights from all parties retaining a financial interest.

Fifa says TPO threatens the integrity of the sport and creates conflicts of interest.

Supporters of the practice argue it allows clubs to buy players they could not otherwise afford.

Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke said a working group set up to implement the ban would decide how long the transitional period would be - which could be up to four years.

The working group will submit a proposal to the next Fifa executive committee meeting in December.

Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala
Mangala (centre), a £32m summer arrival from FC Porto, made his Man City debut in the 1-1 home draw with Chelsea

"The ban cannot be implemented immediately and we are discussing the number of transfer windows we have to wait for this ban to come in," Valcke said.

"It's a matter of whether we are talking about six transfer windows, meaning three years, or eight, meaning four years, this is what we will be discussing in this working group."

Fifa's decision comes after pressure from Uefa, who want to introduce new rules to clamp down on TPO from as early as next season.

Earlier this year Uefa's general secretary Gianni Infantino warned that they would take action on the issue if Fifa failed to act.

A decision to ban the practice could have far-reaching consequences for many leagues where TPO is rife and clubs rely heavily on outside investors to assist them in purchasing players.