Italy to abolish shared ownership

Clubs in Italy will not be able to share the ownership of players in future after the Italian FA (FIGC) agreed to abolish the rule.

A one-year grace period is to be allowed by the FIGC, bringing an end to a practice that is unique to Italian football and sees a summer scramble of exchanges with clubs given the chance to value their half of a player's registration with the highest bidder earning outright ownership. Shared ownership of players was also extendable on an annual basis.

"Those agreements already in existence can still be extended for one more year," explained FIGC president Giancarlo Abete at a news conference in Rome.

"Many times, questions have been raised on this issue regarding public opinion and fiscal problems, highlighting how atypical this practice is on a European and fiscal scale. We know that not all clubs were in favour [of abolishing it], even if the majority agreed."

The case of Ciro Immobile is currently one of the most high-profile examples. The Italy international is owned by Turin clubs Juventus and Torino, both of whom have agreed in principle to the sale of the player this summer.

However, their different valuations of the 24-year-old mean clubs interested in buying him -- such as Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund -- need to negotiate with not just one, but two clubs. While Dortmund's reported latest offer of 18 million euros may be enough for Torino, who would pocket half, Juve are asking for 25 million euros.

Should a fee not be agreed and Immobile remain in Italy, Torino and Juventus would then need to reach an agreement over either extending the shared ownership by a year or buying out the other club's half.

If they were unable to agree on a valuation of the player, sealed bids would be placed in envelopes to be opened at the start of July. The club with the highest valuation would then be obliged to pay half of that value to the other club to take full ownership of the player.

In 2011, Napoli secured the services of right-sided midfielder Daniele Mannini for just 500 euros. Neither they nor Sampdoria had expressed an interest in keeping the player they shared, so the Azzurri made a bid which would just cover the administration costs. Samp left their envelope empty, meaning Mannini became a Napoli player.

That practice has now been brought to an end by the FIGC. "The practice is on its way out and will only exist until there are no longer any players [on existing agreements] still shared by two clubs," added Abete.