The concept of a football transfer first came into existence in England after the Football Association (FA) introduced player registration sometime after 1885. Before that, a player could agree to play one or more games for any football club. The FA in 1885, sought to control professional players by introducing a player registration system.
The Football League decided that restrictions had to be placed on the ability of richer clubs to lure players from other clubs to prevent the league being dominated by a handful of clubs. Football League clubs soon came to realize that they could demand and earn a transfer fee from any other Football League club as consideration for agreeing to release or transfer the player’s registration.