Podcast: Monitoring the Bosman Market

In less than two months’ time, thousands of players across the EU will have the opportunity to move clubs once their current contracts expire, thanks to the Bosman ruling which shook-up professional football over 20 years ago.

As we all know, the ruling means that from January each year, players are allowed to speak to clubs with a view to agreeing a pre-contract for the following season and so far in 2016 we have already seen a number of Bosman transfers announced involving English clubs.

In the top flight these include Joël Matip, who is joining Liverpool from Schalke in July, but if you search further down the pyramid you will also see other examples, such as Michael Coulson, who is leaving Conference-bound York City to play top flight football in Scotland next season with St. Johnstone.

Indeed, one of the additional benefits available to clubs using Scout7 technology is having access to an extensive out-of-contract directory, which lists players based in eighteen countries worldwide who are coming to the end of their current contract.

Our aim is to help client clubs identify the players who are potentially available to move under freedom of movement, both domestically and across Europe, although it must be stressed that in England if a player is under 23 his club is still entitled to compensation, as highlighted recently by the Danny Ings’ tribunal ruling relating to his move from Burnley to Liverpool last summer.

But whilst the efforts of our researchers to help clubs identify potential players are potentially beneficial to clubs, as outlined in our recent case study with Swansea City, how challenging is it for club’s to recruit quality players on Bosman free transfers, given the competition between clubs and the influence of agents trying to secure the best move for their players?

To try and get a better understanding of how clubs monitor the Bosman market, we have brought together Everton’s Chief European Scout Ian Atkins and former Tottenham Hotspur Chief Scout Mel Johnson to discuss the subject in the latest edition of our podcast.

As well as talking about dealing with the inevitable ‘noise’ which goes around the industry, with different people making you aware of who is and isn’t available, we try to establish the viability of putting Bosman recruitment right at the heart of a club’s business model and the steps that clubs can take to avoid a scenario where their best assets can run down their contracts and leave for nothing.

On top of current legislation, we also talk about potential future legislation and the possible impact it could have on a player’s freedom to move clubs. Whilst the Webster ruling didn’t result in a flood of players buying themselves out of their existing contracts, it will be interesting to see if FIFPro’s legal challenge to the existing transfer system, which they claim impedes a contracted players’ freedom to move, is successful. If it is, what ramifications will it have on clubs and the scouts they employ?

As well as organising tournaments for disengaged players, FIFPro want the existing transfer system overhauled

That, alongside possible uncertainty surrounding a potential ‘Leave’ vote in this June’s EU referendum, highlights how quickly parameters can potentially change and impact on a club’s recruitment processes.

But at the same time, there is one key conclusion which everyone can probably agree upon, which is that the basic premise of scouting players will undoubtedly remain the same no matter what legislation is in place. That being a) does a player fit the profile of the club’s current recruitments; and b) is he good enough? As long as a club doesn’t lose sight of that, then at least they can avoid the scenario of signing a player simply because ‘they are available on a free’.

I hope you enjoy listening to the podcast.

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by Andy Cooper PR & Project Manager

Published 03 May 2016