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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

FIFA Executive Committee bans third-party ownership

FIFA's executive committee has voted to ban third-party ownership (TPO) of players which allows outside investors to profit from transfers.

- Brassell: Third-party ownership here to stay

FIFA president Sepp Blatter said a working group will now draft rules to be phased in.

"We took a firm decision that TPO should be banned but it cannot be banned immediately - there will be a transitional period," he said. 

"Furthermore, there is little doubt that third-party investors do influence the transfer policies of clubs even though FIFA rules expressly forbid this. These are actually the findings of FIFA's own -- detailed -- research into this subject. So, it's now time to act, and if FIFA does not address the problem, then UEFA will."

The decision on Friday is a political victory for UEFA and president Michel Platini, who have repeatedly urged FIFA to act.

Third-party ownership is popular with agents, investors and clubs in Latin America, Spain and Portugal. It was banned in England following a controversy over Carlos Tevez signing for West Ham in 2006.

UEFA says the practice drains huge sums of money from the sport, and threatens the integrity of competitions when players are transferred regularly to generate profits.

"It threatens the integrity of our competitions, damages football's image, poses a long-term threat to clubs' finances and even raises questions about human dignity,'' Platini said.

Supporters of third-part ownership say it helps clubs sign players they could otherwise not afford.

BBC Sport claims that FIFA's Players' Status Committee -- in charge of issues surrounding transfers -- voted in favour of recommending a ban on third-party ownership earlier this week.

The global group of players' unions also opposes what it sees as investors interfering in players' careers.

"A TPO ban cannot come soon enough,'' FIFPro secretary-general Theo van Seggelen said in a statement. "Every day that TPO exists is a lost day.''

FIFA also reportedly discussed the issue on Thursday at the first day of its autumn Executive Committee meeting in Zurich, Switzerland.

UEFA is keen to bring in new rules to clamp down on it as early as next season.

European football's governing body is looking to introduce new legislation to tackle the issue among clubs competing in the Champions League and Europa League, according to the Guardian.

The paper reports that UEFA could impose transfer bans on sides breaching the legislation and exclude players from European competition squads under the proposed rules.

FIFA new ruling against third-party ownership will supersede any other national league or confederation regulations.

The FIFA panel drafting rules will meet next week.

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said details will be agreed by the executive committee in December or March.

Valcke suggested a full ban could take effect in three or four years. Clubs need time to buy out some investors and for existing contracts of players affected to expire.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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