Yesterday BBC news broadcaster Stuart Flinders got in touch to speak with us about FIFA’s Transfer Matching System (TMS) in light of the David de Gea transfer fiasco.
David De Gea’s dream move to Real Madrid from Manchester United fell through on deadline day. At the heart of the deal were two of the worlds biggest clubs and FIFA’s ‘Transfer Matching System’.
Before the system went live back in 2010 transfers between national boarders was a laborious task with room for error and manipulation. Two clubs would agree terms, a player would sign on the dotted line and then you’d wait for an “International Transfer Certificate” (ITC). However to get this would require a lot more manual work; involving submitting documents to FIFA and the national association of both the buying and selling clubs.
The main issue before the introduction of TMS was in the sending and checking of paperwork. Old-school processes were used such as faxes and couriers which would sometimes lead to discrepancies and antics, which would not only put deals at risk but also drag FIFA’s overstretched team into the frame.
FIFA Turn To Technology
To solve these problems FIFA turned to technology to help supervise and manage international transfers citing it as cheaper, quicker and more efficient. FIFA’s Congress approved the system by a vote of 199 to 3.
“[Clubs] have to provide compulsory data, upload mandatory documents and declare all payments involved in a transfer,” says Mark Goddard, general manager of FIFA TMS. So prior to 2010 obtaining your ICT could take from days to weeks, now according to Goddard “if all parties are organised, it takes between seven and 10 minutes.”
The key to the system working lies in both clubs uploading their documents to the system separately. The system checks the data making sure the information and numbers match up. If the two sets of data don’t match then the transfer is blocked putting the onus back on the clubs to sort out any issues rather than FIFA.
One of the most interesting benefits of using TMS is in the data it collects. There’s now a record of all transfer fees, agent fees and commissions in the TMS database. This level of metadata could prove to be useful to battle against any fraud or malpractice in the game.
So Who’s To Blame?
Due to the size of both clubs involved it’s unlikely either will be quick to accept any blame and rather direct it at each other. Neither have passed any blame towards FIFA’s system.
Yesterday evening Manchester United released a statement which does indicate the blame lies at the door of Real Madrid.