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Soccer’s Transfer Task Force Meets

September 13, 2000

NYON, Switzerland (AP) _ World soccer’s new task force, set up to revamp the sport’s transfer system, held its first meeting Wednesday and insisted it won’t rush into making new proposals to the European Union.

The EU’s executive Commission contends that the system, which allows clubs to purchase contracted players from other clubs, violates EU employment laws.

FIFA and UEFA, the sport’s world and European bodies, last week set up the six-member task force to make changes to the system. EU Commissioner Mario Monti set an Oct. 31 deadline for a resolution of the matter.

``We are not going to rush to final conclusions,″ Per Omdal, UEFA vice president and chairman of the committee, said in a statement. ``We will undertake a program of research and consultation to help take our thinking forward and help shape our concrete proposals to the EC.″

After the Commission threatened to rule the transfer system illegal in the 15-nation EU, FIFA agreed to retool the system. It produced an initial outline of its plan, including the scrapping of transfer fees for players older than 24.

The Commission expressed disappointment with the plan, saying it was too vague, and sharply criticized a proposal to ban international transfers for players under 18.

However, it reassured the governing bodies that players would not be given complete freedom to change clubs.

Some fear dismantling the transfer system will allow players to leave clubs at will, leaving the teams with nothing to show for time invested in developing the athletes.

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