FIFA are set to end the practice of third-party ownership, beginning in May 2015. The practice, which has been previously banned in countries like England, France, and Poland has been under fire of late, with increasing calls for both FIFA and UEFA to eliminate the practice entirely.
There are very few details at the moment surrounding the upcoming ban, but it's hard to imagine that existing TPO deals would be affected by the ban. More likely (and there are some rumors making the rounds hinting at this), the ban will only prevent any future TPO situations, with already-existing deals being resolved as players renew their contracts or transfer to other clubs.
So how will this impact Chelsea? From a first team perspective, not at all. As mentioned earlier, the practice has been illegal in England for several years now, so the club won't have to alter their business practices at all because of the ban. The same goes for the rest of the clubs in the Premier League and lower tiers.
This isn't to say that the ban won't have any impact on the league though, as it almost certainly will. TPO has been widely utilized in South America and Portugal for years, as a way to acquire and keep young talent that many clubs can't afford on their own. Because existing third party deals are likely to be "grandfathered", it's unlikely that we'll see a mass exodus of developed talent. What's more likely, is that we'll see fewer South American stars remaining in countries like Brazil and Argentina, instead moving to European clubs who have more money available to spend.
Forward thinking European clubs would be wise to set up academies in South America, or to follow Chelsea's lead and develop working relationships with clubs in leagues where work permits aren't as difficult to acquire. All of a sudden, Chelsea's connection with Vitesse Arnhem is looking increasingly valuable.
From more of a general Premier League perspective, this is likely very good news for the overall talent pool in England. While TPO has never been significant in the biggest leagues in Europe, it's been an increasingly popular practice in Italy and Spain, as financial difficulties have forced many clubs to begin using the practice in order to field competitive squads. Atletico Madrid are a wonderful example of how clubs can use TPO to bring in talent they couldn't otherwise afford, and many La Liga clubs have begun following their lead in an attempt to close the gap with Real Madrid and Barcelona. Now, many smaller Spanish clubs will have no chance at matching the wages or transfer fees English sides can offer, especially with rapidly increasing television money available to Premier League clubs. It's pretty easy to believe that midtable clubs such as Southampton, Stoke, and Swansea could wind up being the biggest English beneficiaries of this ban, though it will probably be years before we really see the effects of this announcement.
Regardless of who it helps and who it hurts on the pitch though, it's hard to imagine this long-overdue ban is anything but beneficial for the players themselves. Thankfully, TPO appears to be coming to an end.