Dutch football clubs missing out on millions in transfers of former youth players

Many Dutch amateur and professional football clubs do not always receive the training compensation they are entitled to after the transfer of their former youth players, NOS reported on Monday. Investigations show that clubs worldwide are missing out hundreds of millions of euros in transfers.

Data obtained by NOS from the Transfermarkt website revealed that clubs spent more than 740 million euros on Dutch footballers over the past three years. Five percent of each transfer fee, amounting to 37 million euros, should be remitted to the training clubs. Yet, it is uncertain how much of this total has been received by the Dutch clubs.

According to the FIFA rule of training compensation or solidarity contribution, a football club is entitled to receive five percent of the transfer fee for their former youth players who have played for the club between the ages of 12 and 23. This entitlement applies to every subsequent transfer the player makes in their career. If a player has been associated with multiple clubs during that age range, all of these clubs together are eligible for the five percent contribution. The purpose of this rule is to compensate clubs for their contribution to the player’s training and education.

Documents from FIFA indicate that 365 million euros are expected to be paid annually worldwide in training compensation and solidarity contributions. However, the association reported that the total amount received stagnates between 60 and 75 million euros.

This notably concerns many amateur football clubs in the Netherlands, as the resources to continuously track the global careers of their former players are often missing. According to NOS, professional clubs are also struggling with this issue in the Netherlands. While major clubs like Ajax have staff dedicated to monitoring ex-player transfers, smaller professional clubs do not have these capacities due to a lack of organization or structure.

However, even when a transfer involving a former player is detected, it does not guarantee the money will be received. As reported by NOS, Zeeburgia, a semi-professional club in Amsterdam, has been waiting for a 10,000 euro payment from a Saudi Arabian club for one and a half years following the transfer of one of their ex-players.

A new regulation by FIFA aims to address this issue. The so-called FIFA Clearing House, introduced in November 2022, places specific obligations on football clubs during player transfers. This system centralizes payments related to the transfer to ensure that the money paid by the new club is correctly distributed to the training club.

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