FA issues new plea to save transfer system

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The Independent Football

The Finnish and English Football Associations yesterday sent a joint letter to the European Commission asking it to recognise the sport's unique status and keep the current transfer system largely intact.

The Finnish and English Football Associations yesterday sent a joint letter to the European Commission asking it to recognise the sport's unique status and keep the current transfer system largely intact.

"We call upon the European Commission to recognise the special characteristics of sport in general, and football in particular, and the game's significance to the communities it serves," the letter said.

"We implore all those looking at the issue to ensure that all of the system's benefits are preserved or enhanced in order for football to continue to flourish at all levels," it said.

The letter listed benefits of the current transfer system, citing the protection and encouragement of development, solidarity in terms of financial redistribution, and contract stability.

The EC believes the current system, whereby clubs can demand a transfer fee for any player who leaves before his contract expires, breaks European laws on competition and workers' freedom of movement. It has given the game until the end of October to produce ideas on how to change the set-up.

World and European officials have in the meantime been trying to find common ground on the issue, but failed in their attempt last week to try to create a comprehensive proposal for a new transfer system.

English and Finnish officials said despite the system's shortcomings, any big changes would hurt all involved.

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