With the eSport of FIFA ever-growing over the past couple of years, it came as no surprise when transfer fees for pro players finally came about.
The first-ever transfer fee negotiated for a professional FIFA player was confirmed in September 2021, with two clubs agreeing on a deal that meant one of the top names in the eSport would be switching organisations.
Here is everything you need to know about professional FIFA players and the 'transfer market' that will likely be opening up over the next couple of seasons.
Excel Esports confirmed the signing of Tom Leese from Hashtag United, making him the first-ever FIFA pro to command a transfer fee when switching rosters.
Leese was ranked as the top professional FIFA player for two years before Excel made the offer and the transfer was made.
The switching of players between eSports organisations isn't a new concept, but this was believed to be the first-ever time that an eSports org had received a significant transfer fee to bring a professional FIFA player over from a competitive rival.
Do FIFA pro players get transferred?
Neither Hashtag United nor Excel confirmed the cost of the transfer, however Sky Sports reported in 2020 that Hashtag had received offers for Leese in the region of £50,000 to £100,000.
With this transfer now setting a precedent, it is likely that there will be more deals done over the next few years between clubs.
As pro-FIFA players continue to develop at 'smaller' clubs and organisations, it may well be in the player's and club's best interest to have this system in place.
Giving smaller eSports organisations the ability to help nurture talent in the scene and then potentially benefit from transfer fees could create an eco-system that helps to sustain the eSport at the lower levels.
What is very interesting is how this will likely mirror the existing transfer ecosystem that can be seen in 'real' football; although there is no indication that there will be a transfer window coming at any time soon in competitive FIFA.
The barriers have been broken with Leese making a big-money move, and it looks set to continue in the FIFA professional scene.
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