Friday, January 24, 2014

Meet Marcelo Robalinho, Lawyer and Author

Marcelo Robalinho is a lawyer, with a Bachelor's degree from University of São Paulo – Largo do São Francisco, the most prestigious Law College in South America. He also has a Master's degree in Sports Law from University of Neuchâtel, in cooperation with the International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES/FIFA). The author of Third-Party Ownership Of Football Players, Marcelo is partner of a Brazilian Law firm "Robalinho Alves Advogados" and partner in "Think Ball & Sports Consulting," one of the biggest football players' agencies in South America and Denmark, with clients around the world.

For more about Marcelo's book, visit this online bookstore, and see the book's Facebook page.

1. For those who may not have heard the term before, what is Third Party Ownership?

In soccer, this term means that one party, or more than one, hold a percentage of economic rights of a football player. The economic rights means the right to receive some percentage of money that club will earn when transferring the player to another club.

2. Why did you decide to write a book about this topic?

To try put more light over the topic.

This topic now creates big discussions in the "football world." The UEFA started one campaign to ban TPO, and some national associations of football (in England, France, etc) already ban TPO. On the other hand, a lot of clubs around the world use the TPO tool to survive and increase their competition level.

It's important to highlight that in transfer of many football stars, the use of TPO was involved; as a few examples, Neymar now in Barcelona; Falcão now in Monaco; Hulk now in Zenit Saint Petesburg; Tevez now in Juventus; etc. This puts the matter of TPO in newspapers every day, and sometimes the journalists write articles which convey big mistakes about the rules. My book attempts to try give more information to everybody.

3. What is your own experience regarding transfer involving TPO?

I worked as a lawyer or adviser in hundreds of transfers involving TPO, sometimes working with the selling part, sometimes with the buying part, and sometimes for the player. I have experience, too, with how to build investment funds in TPO.

4. What are some of the financial demands on football clubs that casual observers aren't aware of?

The casual observers think that the cost of football is only the players' salaries and transfers. This is a big mistake; each day the clubs are forced to improve the front office with specialists in several areas such as lawyers, social media, press, scouting, medicine, etc. The costs add up for the clubs from all sides, and for small and medium clubs it isn't easy to find sponsors and fans to buy products.

The possibility to allow to a third party to buy one share of the economic rights for a player gives small and medium clubs the chance to keep better players, make money and share the risk, because the big majority of players aren't sold.

5. Is your book intended for lawyers, or can all readers understand the subject matter you're covering? In other words, who is your intended audience for your book?

This book was written in easy language, not lawyer "language." One of my targets is to help the market to better understand this tool that is very common in south America and Iberian countries, and with this understanding, TPO could become more easy and allow fast transfers around the world.

I believe that the book can be very helpful to lawyers, journalists, advisors in investment funds, managers of clubs, agents, players, members of football associations and federations, etc. For sure a soccer fan will enjoy the book to understand better what happens with his favorite club.

Thanks, Marcelo!

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