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Why the football transfer market reduces the dignity of the player

Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale's situation at Real Madrid is rather unpleasant
Modified 20 Aug 2020, 20:06 IST

After Barcelona’s humiliation in the hands (rather, feet) of Bayern Munich players, the hot topic on every football fan’s lips is whether Barcelona’s star player Lionel Messi is going to take off the blaugrana colours to play for another club.

This brought me to wonder about how the transfer market works. After having a long and heated conversation with a football enthusiastic friend, I finally came to the conclusion that the transfer market is just a high-end market where players are treated like commodities.

Before you get all hyped up and call me crazy, hear me out as I have a lot of things to say.

Price Tag of Footballers

Neymar and Mbappe - The 2 most expensive football transfers of all time
Neymar and Mbappe - The 2 most expensive football transfers of all time

First of all, I have immense respect for footballers but I do not think that their worth can be completely expressed in terms of money. Why should a footballer have a price tag?

I do believe that we are all selling a part of our body and soul which is why we are getting paid to survive in this world, but to completely wrap a person’s entire expertise and express it in terms of money just makes them a product rather than a human.

So, there are a few reasons why I think that we should slowly move away from the concept of transfer market and find a better alternative which will give the players more freedom and make them more human.

Mercy of football clubs


Most of the football players are at the mercy of the club. A club wants to kick you out? Absolutely! Even though contracts are signed, a club can loan you without a legitimate reason. Loyalty? What’s that? Be professional. 

According to an article by ESPN, there is a club in Spain where there is a subclause which gives the club the power to release a player with two months’ pay. So, the contracts are not really a binding obligation of the club towards the players. The players are under constant scrutiny and criticism, which needless to say, affects their mental health adversely. But who cares about that right? It’s all business at the end of the day.

How to gradually move away from the concept of release clause

But enough about the clubs, let’s come back to football transfer markets. There are two key terms revolving around the transfer of a player. They are buy-out clause and release clause. Now, buy-out clause is the compensation that the player has to give when he wants to move out of the club by terminating his contract. While release clause is the amount that a club has to pay another club if they want to acquire a player.

The football transfers are such that, if a club offers a certain amount for a player to the club that he is representing, the player is often asked to go and play for the other club. What happened to loyalty? What happened to the choice of the player? If you are not a great and influential footballer, your choices are not taken into consideration. At this junction, you will have to choose between employment and loyalty, which is really sad.


What clubs can do in order to ensure that there is minimal loss

Ozil is on huge wages at Arsenal
Ozil is on huge wages at Arsenal

Now, I personally believe that this concept of release clause should be gradually removed and that players should not have a price tag on their heads. I believe that there should be more player-club relationship, than club-club relationship. Here is how that can be done.

If a football player decides to terminate the contract then make him pay the buy-out clause. If the club wants to do away with him, make the club pay a compensation. This ensures that both of them stick to the contract and are careful of what they sign and commit to.

Now, many of you might feel that a player might not be able to bear the loss that is incurred by the club on his leaving. So, I believe that the club should incur the expenses judicially. How? Less luxury, more necessity. Moreover, the buy-out clause is decided in the beginning of the contract, so both the player and the club are aware about what they may lose potentially if either of them decides to terminate the contract.

Think twice before signing a football contract. Image: The Telegraph.
Think twice before signing a football contract. Image: The Telegraph.

The club should sign a long-term contract with the football player only when they are sure about the glory that he might bring to the club. If you are not so sure, go for short-term contracts. This gives more freedom and flexibility to both clubs and players.

Now, the question comes about loyalty. How will the clubs acquire the player as per their choice? Simple. Approach the player they want to acquire and give him an offer. If the player is loyal to the club that he is playing for, respect that and search for another player.

Super agents like Mino Raiola have changed the landscape of the football transfer market
Super agents like Mino Raiola have changed the landscape of the football transfer market

Now, at the end of the day, I do understand that transfer money is a major source of income for many football clubs. In order to come close to recovering the deficit that will arise, the football clubs should maximize other sources of their incomes.

It is difficult to do without transfer money, but all I am trying to say is that there should be a mutual understanding and empathy between the clubs and the players. If either of them wants to cut and run away from it, they should pay the price themselves.

Published 20 Aug 2020, 20:06 IST
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