27 July 2021 – With football firmly in the throngs of its “off-season”, friendly matches are the order of the day, as clubs all around the globe prepare in earnest for yet another grueling (2021/2022) season.

Each new season brings with it new challenges and the next one is almost certain to be more challenging than the last. This is especially true of the German Bundesliga, English Premier League, Spanish La Liga and even Italy’s Serie A, all of which begin around mid-August.

However, the most vital aspect of any off-season isn’t the friendly matches played or rest gained but the transfer market, particularly in modern football. If the relevant directors of football, chairman’s, boards and coaches get this aspect right then success is bound to follow. Get it wrong and fans could be in for a long season. Yes there is also the January window but July is normally where the most interesting transfers normally take place.

But how exactly does this, sometimes shady aspect of the sport, work? If we had to go back in history to give us a clue, pre-1885 there was no such thing as a ‘transfer market’. Players could move freely and play wherever they wanted to.

All this changed when football registration began to limit this free movement. Clubs then realized that they could now demand top fees for star players and suddenly the professional era was upon us. Football was now a business. Fast-forward to modern times and this fact is more relevant than ever before and taken to levels unheard of.

An official transfer system was brought into effect by FIFA in 2002 and prevented agents from making deals all year around. Nowadays the sums paid for players, including salaries, bonuses and add-ons, involve ridiculous amounts of cash. Marquee clubs are able to splash the cash and this resulted in the Financial Fair Play (FFP) rule, to ‘even’ things out and keep the gap between big and small to a minimum.

The basic aspects to remember are that it is now common for top players to constantly move from club to club. These professional players sign a club contract for a fixed term or up to five years. If a player moves before their contract expires, the club pays compensation and this is known as a transfer fee.

If a transfer does occur then a new contract must be sorted out between the player, his/her agent, the clubs and lawyers. Players then undergo medical examinations to verify fitness.

The highest transfer in the history of the game is Neymar Jr’s move from FC Barcelona to Paris Saint Germain for $263 million. Insane money when many claim that this could be used to end world hunger, for example. But such is the nature of the beast that is football currently.

Football is a global marketplace and clubs try and recoup the money spent by making even more from image rights, jersey sales and bums on seats.

A record $4.79 billion was spent on 14,591 deals globally in 2016 according to FIFA, which works out to $328,000 per average deal and this has only increased up until now.

Let us not forget about FIFA’s fairly new reward system that benefits the clubs where stars originated from. This is where the MYSAFA registration system can help your club to ensure rewards down the line by registering your players safely and securely into the system.

Yes this is only a game but the money involved in football is staggering. Thinking of a possible career? Look no further than the riches of the footballing world.