SportWorks TOGETHER: Innovations in Players Transfers – A review

Player transfers have become a common sight across sports. They are now a part and parcel of the sports industry. However, with these movements come great challenges. As part of our SportWorks TOGETHER series, we brought experts from the sports industry to put forth the various issues associated with these transfers.

What followed was a riveting discussion led by our panel, which included Raffaele Poli (CIES), Javier Deshayes (FIBA), Roman Dutka (TrustedGoal), Stephen Bock (FIVB), and former Olympian, Gilberto Amauri de Godoy Filho – Giba. Our experts laid the foundation for the ensuing discussions where the participants had the opportunity to discuss these issues at length, ask questions, and provide innovative solutions to the challenges that we face today.

Given the numerous obstacles related to the movement of players and athletes, there was an emerging idea that these challenges affect the stakeholders differently. For an Association, it brings administrative challenges like the race against time for FIBA to approve transfers across the globe. There are numerous other obstacles associated with the differences in available technology from one country to another.

For an academy, transfers require a significant number of resources. They need to follow young players through their careers to claim compensation for transfers and account for career breaks. COVID-19 has also proved to be a significant challenge for clubs as some of them are extremely reliant on transfer income for revenue. The pandemic has slowed down player movements and caused losses for clubs.

But where is the player in all of this? Giba, legendary volleyball player from Brazil, reflected on his career. Throughout his time as a professional, he was faced with a lack of information on the details of his transfers. Working with FIVB now, he believes it is incredibly important to educate players more on their transfers, and that it is a crucial part of player welfare.

The presentations offered by panelists were the perfect platform for the discussions in the breakout rooms. The participants and panelists got the opportunity to directly interact with each other and share their ideas. The breakout rooms focused on two topics – the challenges related to transfers, and the solutions to those roadblocks.

Given the diverse backgrounds of the participants, they brought multiple interesting perspectives to the table. Within the challenges, participants provided examples related to how contradictions in regulations at different levels further complicate the process of transfers. That included examples of rules and regulations over the transfers of minors and rules of registration.

Furthermore, there were deliberations around how technology has become increasingly important and how differences in the available machinery across countries is an issue. But among all of this, there was a shared sentiment that athletes are the ones most affected by these challenges, and they are the ones who bear the burden at the end.

However, there was a healthy discourse which led to some proposed solutions. These solutions revolved around three different levels. At the administrative level, there were a call for setting common standards for all people involved in sports, especially those who are working with minors. On a second level, blockchain technology can help allay some of the issues. This includes help with settling contract disputes, administrative issues, and other technology related challenges.

At a third level and most importantly, our discussions informed us that it is crucial we keep sharing good practices, across sports and expertise and keep having these conversations.

We are left with a few questions to ponder upon. How do we deal with complicated procedures? How do we close the technology gap? And how do we better equip players to deal with transfers? All these are questions that will take time to address. However, we hope that over time, we can discuss these issues that affect our sports industry.

The SportWorks TOGETHER series is a unique opportunity for the sports industry to come to the table and discuss the issues that concern us as a community. We invite you to watch a recording of this event, and do stay tuned for our next one!

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