European Journal of Law and Economics

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 129–151 | Cite as

Why football players may benefit from the ‘shadow of the transfer system’

  • Helmut M. Dietl
  • Egon Franck
  • Markus Lang


Transfer restrictions have a long tradition in professional sports but came under heavy attack in recent years (e.g. Bosman ruling, Monti system). Based on a bargaining model with stochastic player productivity, we show that less restrictive transfer rules reallocate ex post bargaining power from players to clubs. This reallocation is efficient and in the ex ante self-interest of players. The right to charge transfer fees enables clubs to insure their players. The players, in turn, benefit by converting risky future income into riskless current income. Overall, player utility is higher under more than under less restrictive transfer rules.

JEL Classifications

D86 J49 L83 


Labour contracts Transfer restrictions Transfer fees Bosman and Monti transfer system FIFA regulations 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU)University of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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