Italian football retains co-ownership

The widely-used practice will be continued in the peninsula, despite expectation that transfer laws would be brought in line with the rest of Europe

The Lega Calcio has agreed to retain co-ownership arrangements in Italian football, despite expectations that it might give the practice the boot.

  • Club B buys 50% of player’s rights from Club A, with player spending a season at agreed club (loan to a third club is also an option)
  • At end of agreement, clubs reconvene to thrash out deal. If no deal is agreed, a blind auction takes place with the club showing the highest bid buying out the remaining 50% of contract
  • A club can sell its 50% of the player’s economic rights, but only when the player is registered to play with the alternate owner

Co-ownership allows more than one club to have the rights to a single player and has proved to be popular in the peninsula and also in parts of South America.

However, the difficulties in policing transfers and the delinearity with policy in the rest of Europe had put the continued use of the system in doubt.

But Sky Sport reports that the Lega Calcio decided at a meeting on Monday to retain the ability to co-own players in its transfer market statutes.

The meeting had been called in the expectation that the league committee would look for alternative solutions after agreeing with the Inland Revenue to seek an answer to complications in the rule’s governance.

Co-ownership allows clubs to share a player’s economic rights for a short-term period – usually 12 months – after which there is a blind auction to decide which of the parties will buy out their counterparts for the remaining 50 per cent of the player’s contract.

While co-ownership has become common practice in Italy, with Adriano’s spell under the control of Inter and Parma among the most famous deals, it has had its critics elsewhere and has occasionally led to confusion in administration.

In one famous episode in 2011, Bologna missed out on securing the entire rights to Emiliano Viviano’s registration after director general Stefano Pedrelli mistakenly wrote down the wrong figure on his club’s bid slip at the blind auction, resulting in the goalkeeper joining co-owners Inter on a full-time basis.

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