Neymar’s world-record 222 million euro move to Paris St Germain has encouraged international players’ association FIFPro to demand an investigation into “anti-competitive, unjustified and illegal” FIFA transfer rules.
The 25-year-old Brazil forward on Thursday signed a five-year deal with PSG after his legal representatives paid Barcelona 222m euros (£200.6million) to secure an early release from his contract at the Nou Camp.
Barca have passed the details of the transaction to UEFA with a view to determining whether there are any “disciplinary responsibilities” concerning Financial Fair Play and adherence to market rules attached to the case.
On Friday morning FIFPro general secretary Theo van Seggelen bemoaned what he sees as a drift towards dominance of world football by “a select group of rich, mostly European-based clubs”.
In a statement, he said: “FIFPro is calling on the European Commission to investigate the flow of money via transfer fees within the EU territory to understand their impact on competitive balance in the region.
“The world-record transfer of the Brazilian Neymar from Barcelona to Paris St Germain is the latest example of how football is ever more the domain of a select group of rich, mostly European-based clubs.
“Given much of football’s financial activity occurs within Europe, where significant transfer fees are exchanged between clubs, FIFPro is asking the European Commission to launch a thorough investigation of the transfer rules it approved in 2001 and which are now in need of urgent review.
“Stimulating reform of the current transfer system rules is a priority for FIFPro in order to protect the rights of players as workers and safeguard the best interests of the game.
“Football’s enormous wealth is trapped, research shows, within a few leagues and clubs when it could be redistributed more efficiently and fairly to help protect competitive balance, which is one of the fundamental objectives of the transfer system.
“FIFPro claims an inflated and distorted market, with escalating transfer fees at the heart of it, has helped to destroy competitive balance. The transfer rules governed by FIFA are anti-competitive, unjustified and illegal.
“FIFPro’s legal complaint to the competition unit of the European Commission, lodged in late 2015, is designed to help rebalance football and bring an end to the transfer market madness, for the good of the game, all players, clubs and fans.”
The Association of European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL), which represents more than 900 European league clubs, shares similar concerns.
A statement from EPFL chairman Lars-Christer Olsson read: “The EPFL is monitoring the evolution of the current summer transfer window characterised by overspending by clubs and inflation in players’ salaries.
“The EPFL believes there is a pressing need for the football governing bodies to intervene and implement measures aimed to create a more fair and balanced financial system for professional football.
“It is the responsibility of the football stakeholders to preserve a proper and fair competition among football clubs both for domestic and international football.”