Football Leaks Publishes José Sosa’s Transfer Details

Football Leaks Publishes José Sosa’s Transfer Details

The Ukrainian Premier League team Metalist Kharkiv, and the Istanbul-based club Beşiktaş have been the latest target of the football whistle-blower page Football Leaks. On March 18 Football Leaks published the transfer agreement for Argentinian midfielder José Ernesto Sosa, who was loaned from Metalist to Beşiktaş on September 1 2014.

The contract published on Football Leaks shows that Beşiktaş paid Metalist €1.4 million on September 1 2014 for Sosa’s full economic rights. As this was a loan deal, however, Metalist at first retained 100% of the federative rights of the player, meaning that Metalist retains the player’s registration with FIFA.

The contract also stipulated that Beşiktaş could make José Sosa’s move permanent and receive full economic and federative rights of the player by July 1 2015 by paying an additional €2 million before October 15 2014. If Beşiktaş had failed to make the payment, then Sosa would have to return to Metalist on July 1 2015.

But as the homepage indicates, Beşiktaş indeed triggered Sosa’s clause as his transfer is listed as completed as of July 1 2015. Altogether the transfer package was worth €3.4 million. Sosa’s transfer was therefore a loan-to-buy arrangement.

This form of arrangement is quite common in the world of football, and in reality Sosa’s transfer was never designed to be a loan but rather allowed Beşiktaş to move some of the transfer obligations to the following fiscal year.

This has been necessary for Beşiktaş as the Turkish club has struggled in recent years to stay in the black, and furthermore has repeatedly been under Financial Fair Play (FFP) investigations by UEFA. In 2012, for example, Beşiktaş was excluded from European competitions, and fined €200,000 by UEFA due to breaches of FFP regulations.

Despite the warning shot, however, Beşiktaş kept spending, and in 2015 the club was once again under FFP investigations. Then in May 2015 Beşiktaş reached a settlement agreement (the full details can be found here) in which it had to pay €5.5 million to UEFA. The club also had to accept a limitation to its squad size for European competitions, and remains under investigation until the end of the 2019 season – the point at which the Turkish club needs to provide a balanced budget.

The poor financial situation at Beşiktaş explains why the Turkish club wanted to have the Sosa deal appear as a loan deal—with an initial transfer fee of €1.4 million—that on paper was not made permanent until the summer of 2015, as this would allow the club to spread the fee over two fiscal calendar years.

Metalist on the other hand, a club not short of its own financial problems, meanwhile received a transfer sum of €3.4 million in October 2014, and could therefore include the full transfer sum as a profit in its 2014 fiscal year.

Sosa’s transfer is therefore representative of some of the more creative financial juggling clubs undergo in order to meet financial demands by their creditors, and FFP watchdogs.

By Manuel Veth –