On Wednesday, UEFA’s president Aleksander Ceferin stated that the football organization is considering to introduce the squad limits and some changes to the transfer system in order to prevent European teams hoarding players and stem the growing gap between rich and poor clubs.
As reported by Reuters, Ceferin, who was elected as the head of European soccer’s governing body last September, at the conference in Lisbon also addressed a “decrease in competitive balance” within European club football. In the last few years, clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Bayern Munich increased their dominance. Europe’s smaller leagues complain that big teams cream off their players at a young age, only to immediately send them on loan elsewhere. Clubs that once were major powers like Ajax Amsterdam and Benfica become feeder clubs.
“We do have to examine new mechanisms like luxury taxes and in particular sporting criteria like squad limitations and fair transfer rules to avoid player hoarding and excessive concentration of talent within a few teams. We do need to assess whether the transfer market, as it operates today, is the best we can do. We cannot be afraid to touch it” stated Ceferin. The Slovenian lawyer did not give any further details on what he meant by speaking about “luxury taxes” to be applied to the world of football. However, he believes that UEFA and FIFA could work together to change the transfer market or do so via its own licensing regulations.
“We cannot allow the greatness of some to overshadow and drown out the least of us. If we allow gaps to become too great we will be neglecting those who have little opportunity. We face a threat that the bottom becomes unstable because the rest of the world is focused on the top” – the Head of UEFA also stated – “UEFA needed to assess and understand the current situation and some potential trends. The organization must protect the whole of football and not just the elite,” he added.
In reference to the changes to its flagship Champions League competition that UEFA had previously announced and in which beginning from 2018 Spain, England, Germany, and Italy will benefit of four teams directly qualified to the most important competition for clubs, speaking to reporters Ceferin also recognized the importance of the biggest leagues. “You cannot ignore the fact that the big five countries bring 86 percent of revenues and take 60 percent of revenues so you have to be diplomatic, you have to be clever,” he said.
He also added that UEFA would set up a new division entitled “Protection of the Game” and would soon have an “army” of people to tackle doping, corruption, violence, and match-fixing.