Commodification the last available asset, the players. These started

Commodification of football can be seen also with regard to the football players and the transfer market. In the football market, players are controlled by acquiring the so-called economic rights, or the right to profit on the future assignment of the athlete: when the athlete is transferred to another club, who owns a portion of the economic rights will collect the corresponding percentage on the sale. Usually the clubs own the 100% of the economic rights of a player: if, for example, an athlete, own by club A, is sold for 10 million of euros to club B, club A receives the whole amount of money at which the player was sold (net of taxes and commission fees).               At the turn of the new millennium, a new financial instrument is spreading in the football market: the so-called TPO (Third Part Ownership). TPO is the ownership of the economic rights of a player by third-party sources, which can be an agent or, more often, an investment fund. This new type of business model operates and tries to make money in what is considered one of the most profitable voice in the football economy: the buying and selling of football players. The experiments of ‘financialization’ of economic rights on football players through TPO start in South America. The reason is that, in those areas, the indebtedness of the clubs is an endemic reality and at the beginning of the new century they reached the point where nothing remained but to commit the last available asset, the players. These started being sold to cover debts. Creditors, who can be private banking institutions or financiers as well as the same agents of the football players themselves, require in particular young and promising players, which creates a vicious circle for the football club economy: burn future wealth to cover the present debt. From South America, the model has been exported to European football. To discover this change in the European transfer market, however, it is necessary that a mediatically case explodes: the one concerning the transfer of Carlos Tevez to the Premier League with an original formula: not sold or loaned by the Brazilian club, but ‘rented’ by an investment fund, which had previously signed an agreement with the club Tevez came from.               What are the consequences of this new formula for players, clubs and the transfer market? As a result of the foreign intervention of these third-parties subjects, football becomes a financial incubator in which money is injected only to make profits. Secondly, the clubs lose sovereignty over their choices, because they are forced to let play the players on which the funds have bet and then to dispose of them when the funds establish it. Moreover, there is a serious problem regarding the free competition on the job market of football players, because those placed under the protective wing of the financial actor will always find job opportunities at the expense of others who do not have this type of protection. Finally, the transfer of athletes to financial players is totally contrary to the rights and dignity of the person, because this process takes place in a perverse logic of pure speculation, where footballers have become pure commodities, subjects on which to invest. For these reasons, the economic rights of external financial subjects is a scheme that FIFA, UEFA and other organizations has already tried (and are still trying) to sanction, but the transfer of economic rights of football players to subjects outside of football continues to proliferate.