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Volume 10 No. 22

International Football

FIFA said that "agents and other intermediaries received an average commission rate" of 28% on the 11,555 cross-border player transfers that took place last year, according to Tariq Panja of BLOOMBERG. FIFA "didn’t disclose how much money changed hands in the global transfer market" in a year when top players such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Robin van Persie, Eden Hazard and Hulk changed clubs. Figures released last year by UEFA showed more than €3B ($3.9B) "is spent annually on player trading." The new figures, which do not include trading between clubs in the same country, showed deals between Brazil and Portugal "were the most common, with Brazilians the most traded players" (BLOOMBERG, 1/8). The AAP reported FIFA aims to "revolutionise" the transfer market by helping clubs avoid using agents. FIFA said that it is "developing a system to help clubs deal directly with each other, and give information about players available to sign." FIFA Club Football Committee Chair Jacques Anouma said, "This will revolutionise the international and national transfer system." FIFA is also working to restrict agents' business by "preparing rules that will limit third-party investments in players' transfer rights." Proposed regulations on agents will be discussed by the FIFA exec committee at a meeting March 20-21 in Zurich, Switzerland (AAP, 1/9).

Former Barcelona head coach Pep Guardiola spoke for the first time in a public setting at the 2012 FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala on Monday and revealed he will get back to coaching next season, according to SPORT. Guardiola was aksed about his future and said, "Yes, next year I will come back to coaching. I don't know for which team, but I will be back coaching." Guardiola was also asked about a possible contract with Bayern Munich and responded, "Bayern already has a coach and it would be a lack of respect on my part to speak to any team that has a coach" (SPORT, 1/7). EL CONFIDENCIAL's Sara Massa noted amongst Guardiola's possible destinations are Chelsea, Man City, Bayern Munich, Arsenal, AC Milan and ManU (EL CONFIDENCIAL, 1/8).

England’s women’s footballers "do not know where their next pay packet is coming from" because of a dispute between the FA and the Professional Footballers’ Association over their £16,000 ($25,692)-a-year central contracts, according to Oliver Kay of the LONDON TIMES. The contracts of the 17 leading English players, including the vast majority of the squad that represented Great Britain at the London Olympics, expired at the end of November, and negotiations between PFA CEO Gordon Taylor and FA General Secretary Alex Horne have "hit problems over the issue of opportunities for secondary employment." The players have not accepted pay from the FA on a month-to-month basis and went unpaid in December after following the advice of the PFA. The FA opposed this arrangement, but it is believed that the PFA offered loans to cover the players’ earnings for December and "will do likewise for January if no agreement can be reached before the next payday." Under the terms of the central contracts that were awarded in '09, the 17 players are paid £16,000 a year. Having not had a pay increase for three years, the players have been offered "only a small rise" to £18,000 ($28,904) a year. The basic wage is "not the most significant part" of the negotiations. A resolution has finally been reached over arrangements for a maternity package, which was previously considered inadequate, but "significant differences remain over the issue of secondary employment." The players have agreed not to discuss the matter publicly while negotiations continue. The FA declined to comment (LONDON TIMES, 1/8).

Man City has "returned close to a third" of its allocation for Sunday's Premier League match at Arsenal, "after supporters balked at the £62 ($99) ticket price," according to Ewan Murray of the London GUARDIAN. Man City was "given a 3,000 allocation but 912 were sent back and are being sold by Arsenal." The match at the Emirates, which will be broadcast live on Sky Sports, "is classed as Category A and therefore carries the highest ticket cost for Arsenal's Premier League games." Arsenal's own supporters "have become increasingly vocal about pricing." Man City Supporters Club General Secretary Kevin Parker said, "It's the most expensive amount I can ever remember paying for a ticket in my life, for a Sunday afternoon game which is live on satellite television." He added: "It just shows that football clubs are out of touch with reality. If City supporters are travelling on a supporters' club coach it will cost £30 ($48) per person. That's £92 ($148) before they have even done anything; add in a programme, food, drink and you are looking at £125-£130 ($200-$209) per person." Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis defended the entry costs last October by saying: "We've seen ticket prices rise across the game. This isn't just a football issue. If you look at the prices of entertainment across the board they have gone up significantly in recent years, and clearly we now have an environment where people are economically challenged" (GUARDIAN, 1/8).