FIFA considering using AI technology to calculate transfer fees

Paul Macdonald
FIFA considering using AI technology to calculate transfer fees

Have you ever wondering how teams come to an agreement on the value of a player?

Some of the process may seem quite arbitrary and, in some cases, clubs will have a figure in mind that they will sell for.

But in a huge shake-up to the transfer market, FIFA is considering using machine learning in order to calculate the value of a player.

At FIFA’s Football Law Annual Review, Head of Professional Football Ornella Desiree Bellia outlined a number of key challenges that the governing body are looking to address around transfers, including:

  • Increased financial regulation: FIFA will launch a Clearing Hose which will control training payments, which involves the introduction of an electronic player passport
  • Squad Sizes: Prohibiting the hoarding of players at big clubs and address competitive imbalance
  • Protecting minors: Revamping ‘trials’ and ‘training’ systems to protect young players
  • Transfer Windows: Protect sporting integrity by harmonising the transfer framework

Bellia also added that a 1% levy will be applied to all future transfer fees in order to fund its clearing house operations, which could raise as much as £40 million per year for the project.

Artificial Intelligence and Transfer Fees

Bellia concluded her presentation by adding that FIFA is considering applying algorithms to determine player value and look to place a ceiling on the spiralling finances that place football in a precarious position.

Despite 2020 being the year of the global pandemic, it remains the fourth-highest year in history in terms of accumulated transfer fees, with £4.1 billon exchanging hands. This offers insight into the predicament some teams may face if TV broadcast deals or other sponsorship agreements are reduced in the seasons to come.

But while many of Bellia’s other proposals will be in place for the 2022 transfer window, the AI debate will require much deeper thought and will have to be ratified by stakeholders before proceeding.

Until then, the onus will be on the clubs to deem fail value for an asset in a transfer negotiation.