- Proof required by TMS in the event of international transfers of 'free player'.
Proof required by TMS in the event of international transfers of 'free player'.
The summer transfer season for most European associations is about to start and within weeks all of us will be very busy trying to place players or to find the right player for a club.
For every agent it is crucial that he provides correct information to the parties he works with - the clubs, other agents and players.
We all embrace the moment that a club and a player are a match and that employment contracts are signed. However that is when TMS procedures start when it is an international transfer.
In the event of an international transfer of a professional player the registering club has to enter in the TMS 'proof of player’s last contract end date and reason for termination'. (cf. Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players, annex 3, article 8.2 par. 1 ). That means that a new club has to enter for instance either:
- a copy of his last contract that has an end date that is already in the past;
- a termination agreement between the previous club and the player;
- a unilateral termination notice or,
- a decision of a court (of arbitration) that confirms that the employment agreement has ended.
The law in some countries require that agreements regarding employment have to be witnessed and co-signed by a notary or other authorized official.
It is not uncommon that when an agent signs a new player that he doesn't receive copies of the employment agreement or copies of documents that prove the player is free to sign for a new club. It is not that the player tries to cheat, but the player often just doesn't realize the importance of the proof in writing. While waiting for copies the agent already starts to promote a player and the missing docs are forgotten for the time being.
However the missing docs become a problem when:
- an interested club asks for the proof before signing the player (smart club);
- a club asks for the docs because an employment contract has been signed and they want to request an ITC via the TMS (not so smart club).
It does happen that proof can not be produced because the actual (legal) situation is not as it was pictured by the player. A contract might not be terminated yet, an oral declaration that a player can leave is not backed by proof in writing etc.
Not being able to produce the required proof is at the least embarrassing and at worst a small catastrophe that can seriously harm the relationship between an agent and a club.
The clubs whom you propose free players to or agents who receive a mandate for the player need to be sure that the proof of end of contract exist. Every agent who offers a free player should make sure he is in possession and able to share the proof with the parties he works with, before he even offers the player to clubs or other agents.
In the event that an amateur player is signed by a foreign club or moves to a foreign amateur club an ITC is also needed.
Normally an association that is asked to issue an ITC for an amateur player should issue an ITC within 7 days (cf. Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players, annex 3, article 4 par. 2). In a perfect world this happens but in the real world it often doesn't. The issuing association will normally ask the old club if they have objections. An old club can have objections because the player still owes them contributions or the player still has to return properties that are owned by the club. The issuing association may decide to do nothing. There is nothing a player or agent can change about that.  In that situation the new association has to wait until 30 days have passed before they can register the player on provisional basis. These 30 days can be very frustrating and are a terrible start for a player in a new team.
How to avoid this? It helps when the previous club issues a statement that they will
not object to an ITC. With such a document it is more likely that an FA will not hesitate to issue an ITC swiftly.
 Of course a player or agent can initiate legal procedures against an association but considering the time frame it doesn't make much sense.