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Money laundering rife in football transfers

An unpublished report commissioned by UEFA in 2018 found that money laundering was rife in the transfer market and that dominant agents exploited loopholes to get round the rules prohibiting third party transfers.

The report made eight recommendations, none of which have subsequently been implemented, although one may be introduced soon, and votes on some of the others are expected next year.

Amongst the key findings of the report was that third party ownership of players was a “well-established reality”, with agents and intermediaries normally at the heart of such arrangement, because of the large commissions they are able to earn from clubs.

In addition, the report argued that the lack of transparency in the transfer market over who really owns player puts clubs at a disadvantage when negotiating with agents. This opacity allows for widespread money laundering as well, with payments made to tax havens, not only to agents, but also to club owners and the executives with whom they collaborate.

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