Opening the international transfer market to Cuban footballers

The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), the Cuban Football Association (CFA) and government officials, have taken a major step towards the opening of the international transfer market to the island.

cuba footballThe aim of the initiative is for local players to be able to properly transfer from Cuban clubs to clubs abroad.  To assist in the process, CONCACAF held a two-day seminar on February 19 and 20 in Habana, with the intension of supporting the CFA in its efforts to achieve the major developmental milestone in Cuban football history.

“This significant occasion represents the first step to open new horizons for football’s growth in Cuba,” said FIFA Vice President and CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb.

“We hope the international transfer market will provide Cuban players with unique opportunities to display their extraordinary talent in the international arena.  Local players will be able to further develop their skill and inspire younger generations to follow their passion for football.”

Cuba FAThe seminar, attended by representatives from the CFA and government officials, covered multiple subjects, from contractual stability, underage player protection, player registration, and training and formation mechanisms, with the aim of explaining the steps necessary to assist in the opening of Cuba’s international transfer market.  In addition, CONCACAF gave advice on how to create a registry and database of Cuban players, while obtaining guidance on training mechanisms.

Source: CONCACAF and the Cuban Football Association in Efforts to Prepare an International Transfer Market

One thought on “Opening the international transfer market to Cuban footballers

  1. This development is long overdue and I am glad that Cuban soccer players will now get opportunities in the global market of soccer players to display their skills to the world and also to make some money for themselves and their families.

    Indeed such monetary and exposure pay-offs for these players could potentially be beneficial to Cuba as well if properly managed. For example, the global fans of these players are likely to visit Cuba as tourists thus contributing not only to an improved understanding of the achievements and challenges of the revolution but also adding monetary inflows to the economy.

    Importantly, such contributions of tourist fans of Cuban soccer players could potentially act as a boost to the macroeconomy in Cuba but it could also boost the growing though still small and weak private sector of mom and pop pizza shops, restaurants, motels, car wash and others small businesses on the island. It is equally the case that the soccer players themselves who were trained and educated by the revolution should probably be required to contribute a percentage of their annual earnings to a fund to train and prepare other players for a limited duration in an attempt to increase the number of players for the global market along with the state.

    Likewise, the Cuban state should also find creative policy mechanisms to incentivize soccer players to invest in private and cooperative businesses to encourage job creation, value-added and growth in this sector that have been monopolized by the state sector for the life of the revolution.

    The truth is that similar deals should be reached in other sporting areas such as boxing, baseball, basketball and other areas to foster long term win-win situations or maybe even adversarial or zero sum scenarios for athletes and the revolution over time. From my standpoint win-win, adversarial and even zero sum scenarios are all possibilities in opening up sporting markets including soccer to global markets. However, the key is whether in net the revolution wins over time from these openings!

    Clearly, athletes will have the chance to use their skills to make money and the revolution could also benefit long term in terms of investments in the emerging private sector in Cuba. Further, the enemies of the revolution will have one less arsenal to attack and smear the revolution and to confuse working people globally, namely, that the state represses the rights of athletes to trade their skills and to travel abroad in doing so. There is no suggestion here that capitalists and imperialists will begin to love the revolution on the contrary, revolutionaries do not have any such illusions about their class enemies. The point here is to weaken and minimize any political and propaganda room the enemies of the Cuban revolution may have to smear and weaken it not only inside Cuba but also among working people in the US and elsewhere. The latter is particularly critical in a context where since the collapse of socialism as a political and economic system over 30 years ago, the Cuban state seems to be struggling in employing huge numbers of workers, maintaining a viable public transportation system and other services due partly to its lack of resources some of which it got from the former socialist countries in the form of subsidized loans and other subsidies.

    Finally, reforms like those in soccer and hopefully others are useful to foster growth in the Cuban economy but in the context of a weakness state sector, it makes sense to liberalize not only sporting markets but also the private sector to compete with the dominant state sector in areas in which it can such as ice cream, barbering, food services and others. Hopefully, the private sector properly regulated will give the state a run for its money or vice versa. The goal is to encourage better quality service, to lower costs and to create jobs.

    Frankly, though I understand historically why the state got into things like the delivery of ice cream, cosmetology, shoe shine services, pizzas and others, it seems to me that with the state under so much pressures to deliver more strategic goods and services like education, health care, sugar and other vital resources perhaps it is time to rethink the role of the state in many of these less strategic areas particularly to the extent that private and cooperative investors are willing and able to invest in them overtime. Perhaps the revolution will take one step backwards but many forward over time.

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