When a football transfer is announced—no matter the prominence of the player, the complexity of the deal or work that was put in behind the scenes—it is simplified and condensed into one meaningful indicator: the fee.
Hundreds of millions are spent every winter and summer across the globe by clubs on acquiring new players, but it’s far from the clean, crisp process a simple announcement on a club’s website or Twitter feed suggests.
Fans are far removed from the exceptionally murky world that dictates and decides the process of player movement—be it 18-year-olds leaving an academy without the first clue of where to turn, a blockbuster star who is swapping Madrid for Barcelona or a veteran nearing the end of his career looking for one final contract.
It’s not simple; there is no exclusive glossary that contains all the information a club needs in order to negotiate a deal.
This void, fortunately, is a place Fieldoo is willing to step into. A rapidly growing online platform aiming to connect players, clubs and intermediaries more efficiently, its wish is to provide transparency for the sport—a word Fieldoo co-founder and CEO Klemen Hosta uses frequently when talking to Bleacher Report about its aims.
“Our mission is to bring transparency to football. The market is broken,” he states. “We want to connect the footballing chain.”
Fieldoo has targeted two major areas that are in drastic need of revamping and improving in order to achieve its goal: eliminating the murkiness surrounding transfers (big or small) that acts as an obstacle to completing deals; and relocating promising youths who are not offered professional contracts and fall out of the loop.
While staunch commitments are being made to solve the latter over the coming months, the first issue is perhaps the more prominent; it’s the one that the public are more cognisant of.
“[Football] is a very corrupt industry,” Hosta says. “With player trafficking, all the issues happening on the internet, rogue agents scamming players for money. We are verifying intermediaries, verifying users, providing credible contacts at clubs and educating players about their rights.”
It’s akin to having a blue tick next to your name on Twitter; it’s the first step toward removing the spurious nature of the inner workings of some football transfers. While many go smoothly—some players have a sole representative and it’s easy to get in touch with the right person—too many do not. Hosta tells a fairly alarming story of one player whose move should have been simple but turned out to be anything but.
“A player who moved from Croatia to Spain had 18 people involved in his transfer, in the chain. Two clubs, one player, 18 people involved? This is the problem. Over €1 million was spent on this transfer, but the actual fee of the player was no more than €300,000.”
This scenario involved a player moving to the lower divisions of Spain, where transactions and deals are actually among the shadiest of any country in world football, but similar problems occur far higher up the food chain, too.
Southampton’s attempts to sign Dusan Tadic in the summer 2014 hit roadblock after roadblock, with the club forced to move through multiple “alleged representatives” before finally speaking to the right person.
Despite the Serbian playmaker standing as one of the Eredivisie’s finest players, actually getting in touch with his agent was exhausting work; according to a source, just shy of 10 people either intimated or pretended to represent him during the process.
“We want to eliminate certain aspects of agents,” Hosta says. “I’m not saying stop agents [altogether]—they have been involved since the beginning—but we want to push agents toward working with clubs. Thirty per cent of all transfer fees each year gets paid to agents; that bothers the authorities of football.”
Fieldoo simplifies and verifies the footballing world, bringing ease of communication in an attempt to eradicate the liars and impostors. Leagues that suffer from this issue more heavily tend to boast the highest population of active clubs using their platform, with almost every top-division Croatian and Slovenian club utilising what’s on offer. It’s no coincidence.
“Some clubs are just sick of this murkiness. They want to do business in a transparent, organised arena,” Hosta affirms.
The fact that Miralem Pjanic has created a profile on Fieldoo will boost the platform’s reputation and open many eyes to the changes Hosta is trying to instigate. Pjanic's move from Roma to Juventus this summer will have been made far easier than perhaps expected—largely thanks to Fieldoo’s verification process—and perhaps he will help blaze a trail for the new, transparent age many in the business crave.