Football, like many other sports, requires a team effort to achieve success and the team is never going to reach peak performance without parts that work their best and also parts that work well together. Unfortunately, sometimes, someone else has the best parts. So, why not make a trade?
Virtually all major sporting leagues have some kind of a trade policy; however, few are as publicised and at high-stakes as the 2 transfer windows in soccer. If this past January (aka the mid-season transfer window) can be taken as an example, the top 5 leagues in Europe (England, Spain, Italy, France and Germany) spent a combined nearly EUR 930 million on 575 deals. Of course, the 2017 summer transfer windows was way hotter, seeing the big-5 league clubs spending around 4 times more on transfer fees, or EUR 3.7 billion, including the move from the Spanish Barcelona (ranked last year as the fourth most valuable sports team in the world with a team value of EUR 3.13 billion) to the Qatari owned French giants Paris Saint-Germain of the Brazilian megastar Neymar, that registered a record-breaking staggering cost of EUR 222 million and turned Neymar into the most expensive football player ever.
Naturally, it is easy to wonder – especially considering the loads of currency being spent – what makes the difference between an extra million here or there for a guy playing the game, but don’t be fooled: football transfers are a very complex business.
As any investor will tell you, a product is only worth what someone is willing to pay (or accept) for it; on the other hand, understanding value and, with the case of transfers, proper fit is another matter. In order to try and cut down on the simplistic and often misguided guesswork of a transfer, teams now rely on scientific data. By closely analysing a player’s position, age, performance metrics, current contract, level of competition, etc., as well as how these factors relate to the current market and availability, football clubs feel that they can make a more educated assumption about how a potential transfer will work out in their system. Of course, with virtually all clubs using variations of this system, coming up with the right players is even more tricky. Furthermore, the transfer process can go costlier than initially planned, with scouts, agents, players, clubs’ managers and sponsors haggling away at one another to get the best deal for themselves.
And if you thought the financial aspect and the search for the right player were difficult, it is now time to discuss the most painful aspect – the terms. Transfers may happen between clubs and players, but they don’t happen without agents and lawyers. Typically, these terms involve fairly customary football issues, such as signing terms, injury compensation, minimal playing time, relegation options, wages and compensation. But then, there are also the signing-on bonuses that players receive from the club they are joining and the loyalty bonuses from the club they are leaving, and plenty of other clauses that can be inserted by various parties, including selling-on and buyback clauses, along with fairly outlandish clauses, such as Dennis Bergkamp’s fear of flying requiring Arsenal to excuse him from any trip requiring a flight, Stefan Schwarz’s Sunderland contract which kept his from commercial space flights, and former Cardiff City owner Sam Hammam ordering Spencer Prior to eat a sheep’s testicle.
Overall, transfer windows are, by their own nature, very chaotic. A club and its sponsors have a short window of time to decide on and execute the proper spending of huge amounts of money (yet to comply with the UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations preventing professional football clubs to spend more than they earn) based on mainly data analysis and often speculated information, such as clubs leaking misinformation or agents creating stories. And added to all of the uncertainty and the complicated negotiation process between multiple parties under a time deadline is the language barrier. Simply put, this is not the time to discover that your communication to clubs in foreign leagues is being delayed due to slow translation turnover, that the data in your player assessments or the legal terms accompanying the transfer have been mistranslated. Though past performance may not be the best indicator of future results when it comes to a goalie of midfielder, you definitely want a translation company that won’t cause you to get carded.
EVS Translations is a global translation and business services company with more than 25 years of experience in helping sport associations and their sponsors to successfully open and close any transfer windows. The extensive portfolio of language services covers the areas of law (licensing and sponsorship agreements, player transfer agreements), finance and taxes (audits and tax-related documents for athletes and sports organisations), HR (internal policies, employment contracts, health & safety, medical investigation reports), PR & Marketing.