Why football players may benefit from the ‘shadow of the transfer system’
The transfer system imposed by the football governing bodies on employment relations made sure that a player could not leave his current club and sign with another club without the current club's explicit consent. The 1995 Bosman judgement of the European Court of Justice declaring football players to free agents after expiration of their contracts and the 2001 intervention of the European Commission, which, among other things, limited contract durations in football, can be interpreted as the two major steps towards restricting the application of the transfer system. This paper provides a theoretical model to analyze whether professional football players in the European football leagues benefit from transfer restrictions. It shows that under a restrictive transfer system, clubs can partially insure their players against income uncertainty by transforming a part of the player's risky future salary into risk-free current income. As a result, a risk-averse player benefits from the 'shadow of the transfer system'.
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