Sadio Mane's transfer to Bayern Munich made headlines, but what does a club in Germany have to do to make the signing official? - © IMAGO/Frank Hoermann/SVEN SIMON/IMAGO/Sven Simon
Sadio Mane's transfer to Bayern Munich made headlines, but what does a club in Germany have to do to make the signing official? - © IMAGO/Frank Hoermann/SVEN SIMON/IMAGO/Sven Simon

How is a transfer completed in the Bundesliga?


There are two transfer windows in a footballing season – one in summer and one in winter – where clubs are allowed to sign players from other clubs. We hear all about rumours, negotiations, medicals and fees, but how is a transfer actually made official?

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A transfer begins with a club expressing interest in a player who is under contract with another club. If the player wishes to change clubs, he agrees on a contract with his potential future club and the selling and buying clubs agree on a transfer fee to be paid. An employment contract and a transfer contract are then signed.

The processes were simplified and optimised with the introduction of the TOR online system in 2015. All player registrations, applications for match authorisation and transfers take place via this system. But how does the DFL's TOR system work?

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Questions and answers about the TOR system

What is the TOR system?

TOR stands for Transfer Online Registration system. The DFL's TOR system is an online platform on which all clubs in the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 can process any matters related to first-team players.

What operations can be carried out with the TOR system?

The TOR system is a web application. Information on transfers, contract extensions or player registrations, for example, is entered there via a form. The clubs also have the option of uploading all relevant documents and therefore filing them with the DFL. According to the "Licensing Regulations for Players", the 36 professional clubs are obliged to use the system designed by the DFL. The promotion of youth players to the professional squad is also recorded in the system.

Since when has the system been in place?

The system was introduced for the 2015/16 season. The development phase began in January 2014 and led to a test phase in March 2015. For the 2018/19 season, the TOR system was updated and its operation was made easier in some areas and further developed to meet new requirements. The system is constantly being improved.

What documents must the buying club submit to process a transfer?

A total of between eight and ten different documents must be submitted to the DFL. This depends on whether a player is transferring to Germany from abroad, for example, and whether the player is a non-EU citizen. The documents include the employment contract and the sports fitness certificate, which is issued after the obligatory medical check. In order to finalise a transfer, the majority of the documents must be submitted no later than 6pm on the last day of the transfer period. The documents for the release by a selling club abroad, the player's residence permit as well as the documents for the sports fitness examination can also be submitted later within certain deadlines. Players previously not attached to a club can be signed at any time during a season, even between the summer transfer period and the end of transfer winter period (usually on 31 January).

What happens if documents are missing?

If clubs have forgotten fields in the form, filled in documents incorrectly or failed to submit proof, they will be notified by the system. If a club does not respond to these notices, DFL officials will contact them to point out any problems. As a further technical aid, a countdown time shows when the transfer window closes. After successful submission, the clubs can view the processing status in the system at any time.

What if the player doesn’t receive clearance?

If a team doctor determines that a player is not fit for sport, he will not receive a player's permit from the DFL. If, in the case of a transfer from abroad, the selling club does not give clearance for the player, no player permit can be issued either. In these cases, the DFL contacts FIFA in order to obtain a release if possible. The selling club has seven days to respond to a FIFA request initiated by the DFL. If the selling club does not respond at all within 7 days, the player automatically receives a provisional release.

How many transfers take place within the transfer windows?

History shows that more player transfers take place in the summer transfer window between seasons. In the 2021/22 season, a total of 296 transfers were processed through the system between 1 July and 31 August. In the winter transfer window from 1 to 31 January, there were 80 transfers.

What advantages does TOR offer?

Thanks to the system, clubs and the DFL can work paperless, and the DFL can therefore act much faster in processing than before. The system is also more transparent because all clubs know exactly what the processing status of their applications is. In addition, TOR collects all information at a central point and makes it available at any time. The DFL can also use the system to generate reports based on all available data.