An International Transfer Certificate (ITC) is a certificate provided from one National Association to another to facilitate the transfer of a player (male or female) between countries.
The FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (FIFA Regulations) and the FAI rules require all players to obtain an ITC where the immediately preceding registration was with a National Association other than the National Association in which the player is registering.
In the Republic of Ireland, the only authorized body who can request an ITC for a player is the FAI.
Typically, there are three types of ITCs for eleven-a-side football. There are ITCs for amateur adults, ITCs for professional players, and ITCs for minors, the details of which are set out in the following sections.
Failure to request and obtain an ITC in accordance with the FIFA Regulations will mean the player is unable to play in any fixture under the jurisdiction of the FAI. It shall be the responsibility of clubs playing in any match under the jurisdiction of the Association to ensure that its players are eligible.
An ITC will be required for a player aged 18 or over where that player’s immediately previous football registration was with a different National Association.
The signing club should ensure the following questions have been asked before entering a player registration on FAInet:
- Was the player’s last registration to play football in another country?
- In which country (other than Republic of Ireland) did the player last register?
- With which Club did the player last register?
- In which year did the player last register?
If the answer to question (1) is “Yes” the club administrator will need to complete the following steps:
- Enter the player details on FAInet and search the system as per usual registration process
- Once the search is complete, select “Continue with international transfer application entry”
- Enter the player details and previous registration information.
- Upload the necessary documentation as prompted by FAInet system and complete registration process
- An update on the status of the application can be seen through ‘Application Overview’ module on FAInet.
The FAI cannot register a player unless and until: (a) the ITC is received; or (b) no response has been received from the National Association within 7 days from the date FAI sends the ITC request.
If a minor player has never been registered at an association for the purpose of playing organized football(1) in his/her life and wants to be registered (for the first time) with a club affiliated to a member association, his/her registration constitutes a first registration.
If a minor player is registered at an association and now wants to be registered with a new club affiliated to another association, his/her registration with his/her new club constitutes an international transfer, i.e., said would be subject to an International Transfer Certificate (ITC) as per art. 19 of the RSTP.
As a starting point, the FIFA Regulations provide: International transfers of players are only permitted if the player is over the age of 18 (Art 19.1). This policy is intended to protect players under the age of 18 from potential exploitation.
The following six exceptions to this rule apply:
1 - "The parents of the player moved for reasons not linked to football"
Art. 19 par. 2 a) of the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (RSTP).
This exception can be categorised into 3 different scenarios which each contain different documentation requirements.
- International move of both of the player’s biological parents
- International move of one of the player’s biological parents
- International move of neither of the player’s biological parents
2 - “The player is over 16 and is moving within the territory of the EU/EFA”
Art. 19 par. 2 b) of the RSTP.
This exception relates to when the player transferring is aged between 16-18 years old and is broken down to 2 categories:
- The player transferring moves from a country outside the territory of the EU/EFA to an EU/EFA country
- The player transferring moves from one EU/EFA country to another EU/EFA country
3 - “Both player and club are within 50km of their common border and the distance between the two is less than 100km"
Art. 19 par. 2 c) of the RSTP.
This exception relates to when the transferring player’s circumstances are as follows:
- The distance between the player’s domicile and the club’s headquarters is not more than 100km
- The distance from the player’s domicile to the closest border of the neighbouring association is not more than 50km
- The distance from the closest common border of the neighbouring association to the club’s headquarters is not more than 50km
4 - "The player is an exchange student undertaking an academic programme abroad"
Art. 19 par. 2 e) of the RSTP.
- This exception relates to when the transferring player is an exchange student undertaking an academic programme abroad and the player’s new club has a purely amateur status i.e., a club without a professional team and without legal, financial, or de facto links to a professional club.
5 - “The player is registering for the first time with an association after having lived continuously in that country for the past 5 years”
Art. 19 par. 3 & 4 of the RSTP.
6 - “The player is moving for humanitarian reasons with his/her parents”
Art. 19 par. 2 d) of the RSTP.
- This exception relates to when a player is moving internationally to the new country with one or both of his/her parents who cannot be expected to return to their country of origin or their previous country of residence given that their lives or freedom would be threatened on account of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.
For all Minor applications, the FAI can apply through FIFA TMS. However, the FAI is unable to make any guarantee as to the outcome of such an application. Please note that such applications may require significant supporting documentation.
The FIFA Regulations also apply to any Minor who is a foreign national (including refugees) seeking to register in the Republic of Ireland, irrespective of whether they were registered to play football in their previous country or not. The FIFA Regulations also capture any Irish Minors who are returning to the Republic of Ireland after having played with a different National Association. Any such Minor seeking to register to play football under the jurisdiction of the FAI will need to complete a Minor ITC Application. (Please note that this international clearance process also applies for players previously registered in Northern Ireland).
Where a Minor was born in a country other than the Republic of Ireland and is registering to play football for the first time, the international clearance process applies. The FAI is required to confirm that there is no record of registration of the player in their former country of residence.
Children aged under 10 do not require an ITC – as per FIFA regulations on the status and transfer of players – Article 3.5
The length of time it will take for a player to obtain their ITC varies depending on which application process applies. From the time of requesting the ITC, the association has 7 days to issue the ITC.
An ITC for a minor player is only requested following FIFA’s acceptance of the exemption request.
- Delay in providing supporting documentation for a Minor ITC Application.
- Not having de-registered from your previous association or Club.
- Providing incorrect or incomplete information about the former club or playing history.
- FAI processing time during peak registration periods; and if your application is required to be submitted to the FIFA Players’ Status Committee.
The level of documentation required for a Minor ITC Application is set by FIFA. The FAI is responsible for ensuring the FIFA Regulations are correctly applied within Republic of Ireland, and that all Minors seeking their ITC meet FIFA’s documentation standards.