50 years FIFPro
The Establishment of FIFPro
In Paris, France, 15 December 1965, representatives of the French, Scottish, English, Italian and Dutch players' associations meet in Paris, with the objective of setting up an international federation for footballers. To this day the unions of France (UNFP), Scotland (PFA Scotland), England (PFA), Italy (AIC) and the Netherlands (VVCS) are still members of FIFPro.
FIFPro’s name and first headquarter
The abbreviation FIFPro derives from Federation Internationale des Footballeurs Professionnels. Deciding on a name was the first resolution passed that famous day in the former offices of the French players' union, UNFP, at 14 rue du Pont Neuf. The UNFP headquarter will also serve as FIFPro's first headquarters.
Bertrand and Blanpain
Initiators Jacques Bertrand and Roger Blanpain are FIFPro’s major driving forces. Blanpain – Labour Law Professor at the Belgian University of Leuven is the first FIFPro President. Bertrand – adviser to UNFP France – is the first Secretary General.
Bobby Charlton for President
In January 1966, former Manchester United legend Bobby Charlton is appointed FIFPro President. Charlton, the 1966 European Footballer of the Year, commits himself to the improvement of football's image.
FIFPro visits the VVCS, the Netherlands
In June 1966, a FIFPro delegation – consisting of Jacques Bertrand, Roger Blanpain and Scottish PFA representatives David McParland and John Hughes (also FIFPro Vice President) – visits the congress of Dutch player union VVCS. Blanpain discusses the status of the professional footballer. He urges professional footballers worldwide to demonstrate solidarity in order to improve their rights in comparison with the clubs' rights.
First FIFPro Congress
The first FIFPro congress takes place in London In the second half of June 1966, just before the start of the World Championship in England. The articles of association of FIFPro are adopted and the objectives clearly put forth. The membership includes the following countries: Argentina, Brazil, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, The Netherlands, Paraguay, Scotland and Uruguay.
First FIFPro Congress - Freedom for the Players
The emphasis is placed on providing freedom for the football player to be able to play at the club of his choice at the end of his contract. The congress decides that FIFPro will be helpful in every required area for setting up interested associations. These objectives still apply today.
FIFPro Congress - Once every four years
It is originally laid down that a congress would be held once every four years at minimum, prior to the World Championship. The congress has to uphold the set out course and garner a two-third majority vote. (Picture taken during 1972 Congress in Amsterdam).
Jim Janssen van Raaij
The later President Jim Janssen van Raaij carries out important research during FIFPro’s early years. In 1967 he publishes “The Legal Position of the Professional Football Player”, in which he gives a complete picture of the social and legal position of the professional player and makes an in-depth study of the legitimacy of the transfer system. Janssen van Raaij presents his report in Milan, during a two-day FIFPro congress. The meeting in Italy concludes with a statement that FIFPro strives to secure total freedom for the player after his contract has expired, meaning that every player is free to join any club he likes without having to pay any compensation.
FIFPro officialy recognized
On 28 February 1968 FIFPro is officially recognised in accordance with French legislation as an international association, established in Paris, with the objective of protecting the rights of professional football players throughout the world.
Johan Cruijff at the FIFPro Congress
Johan Cruijff, Europe’s Footballer of the Year in 1971, 1973 and 1974, visits the 1972 FIFPro Congress in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. On the newspaper picture Cruijff talks with (from left to right) Karel Janssen (VVCS), Cliff Lloyd (PFA), Philippe Piat (UNFP), Jacques Bertrand, Ger Lagendijk (VVCS) and Derek Dougan (PFA).
French players against transfer system
The French player union UNFP organises, under the auspices of FIFPro, a special congress. More than 300 professional footballers from the French clubs gather in the Palais de Congrès, Versailles, to discuss the abolishment of the French transfer system. There would be more players, if some of the French clubs had not threatened to sanction them if they attend the meeting. The meeting begins with the unanimous adoption of the motion, that states that if club directors are going to sanction any player present at the congress, there will be an immediate stoppage of the French championship. The meeting in Versailles is one massive and impressive display of solidarity among the French pros.
Charity match UNFP-FIFPro
On 28 November 1972, one day after the meeting in Versailles, a FIFPro team plays against a UNFP team in the renovated Parc des Princes, Paris. It is a sign of solidarity between professional footballers worldwide and their colleagues in France. The FIFPro team, which loses 4-3, consists of, among other, Sigi Held, Roland Weida (Germany), António Simoes, Arthur Jorge (Portugal), Denis Law, Bobby Moncur (Scotland), Henk Bosveld, Hans Venneker, Theo van Duivenbode, Jan Klijnjan and Cas Janssens (The Netherlands). The official kick-off is performed by movie actor Jean-Paul Belmondo.
French players’ strike
Upon returning at their club after they had attended the UNFP meeting in Versailles (and were not present at training), eight football players from Lyon are suspended or banned to the reserves "due to loss of form". The French football players decide, under management of its President Philippe Piat (UNFP) to hold a mass strike beginning on 2 December. This strike - the first in French football - proves to be successful. After an intervention from Sports Minister Joseph Comiti the club drops its sanctions against the players and it re-opens national discussions between the clubs and the players. This leads to the creation of the Professional Football Charter, which defines the relationship between the clubs, the players and the coaches. (On the photo, a UNFP delegation meeting with the Ministry).
FIFPro Congress - A congress each year
It soon appeared that it was necessary to organise a congress annually, and not to limit this to once every four years. The congress is today still FIFPro's most important tool. At the 2014 Congress in Tokyo, more than 150 representatives from 65 countries attend the meeting.
During its meeting in Scotland on May 17 1985, the FIFPro congress passes a resolution that professional football players should have the right to a reasonable percentage of the profits from television rights. Since that time, FIFPro players' associations negotiate with national football associations and clubs, with varying degrees of success. The rights have been acknowledged in some countries while other unions continue to wage legal battle.
Reform of FIFPro
A very important milestone in FIFPro History. On 16 February 1994 the FIFPro congress in Zurich decides to reform its organisation. A new board is formed. A financial structure is set up. The articles of association with regard to the entry of new members is scrutinized. A new FIFPro logo is introduced. The authorities of the congress are adapted to the present situation. And a permanent secretariat, charged with supervision and execution, is established. The professionalisation of FIFPro begins. Pictured, the new board: Gerardo Movilla (Spain), Theo van Seggelen (The Netherlands), Gordon Taylor (England), Philippe Piat (France) and Leonardo Grosso (Italy).
Jean-Marc Bosman Case
Ever since its founding, FIFPro has fought towards the abolishment of the transfer system. Finally, Belgian player Jean-Marc Bosman, with backing from FIFPro, provides the final push. On December 15, 1995, the Bosman Ruling is a fact. From that moment on all players are eligible for free transfer at the end of their contract. Framed picture: Jean-Marc Bosman with FIFPro Secretary General Theo van Seggelen in 2015.
Recognition by stakeholders
After the Bosman Ruling, FIFA finally acknowledges FIFPro as the official representative of all professional football players worldwide. On March 17 1999, FIFA President Joseph Blatter, General Secretary Michel Zen-Ruffinen and Gianpaulo Montineri invite the FIFPro board to Zurich for talks.
Explosive growth FIFPro
From 1998 to 2001 FIFPro grows from a mostly European organization (with a handful of non-European members) into a global network of footballers’ associations. FIFPro is increasingly supporting countries on other continents - Asia/Oceania, Africa and America – in their efforts to set up players’ associations. As a result, the players’ associations in countries including Australia, Brazil, Cameroon, Japan, South Africa and Algeria all join the FIFPro in this period.
New Transfer Regulations
The European Commission has an important role in mind for FIFPro in the preparation of new transfer regulations. Together with FIFA and UEFA, FIFPro has to submit an alternative to the Commission that is more in line with European law than the then existing system. In 2001, this results in the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players. Both FIFA and FIFPro emphasise that it is of vital importance to football that the players – represented by FIFPro – are directly involved in the new system.
Social Dialogue in professional football
The discussions with the European Commission also lead to an initiative intended to bring about a social dialogue in European professional football. The EC assigns FIFPro to the task of giving substance to this social dialogue. In 2003 FIFPro takes the initiative for the first meeting with the national football leagues, UEFA and the European Commission. One of the main objectives is a collective bargaining agreement for European football.
Training for out of contract players
Ever since the Italian players’ union AIC organized training facilities for players out of contract in 1985, an ever increasing number of players’ unions worldwide have copied this idea. The objective is to get these footballers in the right playing condition, to help them find a new club and continue their career as a professional footballer. In 2004, the Dutch players’ union VVCS takes the next step, by organising friendly matches against two other FIFPro unions: Sporta Belgium and UNFP France. This leads to the creation of the first FIFPro Tournament in 2005.
The First FIFPro Tournament
Following a successful experiment with players' unions from Belgium, France and the Netherlands playing freindly against each other in 2004, FIFPro takes the next step. The world players' union creates the FIFPro Tournament, a showcase event for out of contract players. These footballers get the opportunity in front of an audience of scouts and clubs to show their fitness and their talent in an effort to continue their career as a professional footballer. In Chantilly, France, 4 player unions participate in the first edition of the FIFPro Tournament: France, England, The Netherlands and Portugal.
New FIFPro head office
On Monday 18 April 2005, FIFPro opens its new head office in Hoofddorp, the Netherlands. In the presence of football legends such as Eusébio, Emilio Butragueño and Alain Giresse and a large contingent of active players from 40 FIFPro countries, UEFA President Michel Platini official opens the new FIFPro headquarter, situated on the 17th floor of a shared office building. On the picture, standing: Terry Venables, Michel Hidalgo, Eusébio, Philippe Piat, Alain Giresse and Theo van Seggelen. Below: Gerardo Movilla, Emilio Butragueño, Michel Platini, Gordon Taylor and Leonardo Grosso.
Ronaldinho is the 1st FIFPro World Player of the Year
Ronaldinho is elected the first FIFPro World Player of the Year on 19 September 2005. The Brazilian star of FC Barcelona is chosen by his colleagues worldwide, in a vote organised by FIFPro. A total of 38,000 ballots are shipped to all 40 member unions, who distribute these forms among the professional footballers in their country.
The first FIFPro World XI
During the same vote, FIFPro also asks all professional footballers to compose their team of the season 2004-2005: the FIFPro World XI. Today it remains the lone global peer vote for professional footballers. The first ever World XI consists of: Dida, Cafú, Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Nesta, John Terry, Frank Lampard, Claude Makélélé, Zinedine Zidane, Samuel Eto’o, Andrei Shevchenko and Ronaldinho.
MoU FIFPro and FIFA
FIFPro President Philippe Piat and FIFA President Joseph Blatter sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 2 November 2006 to mutually recognise each other and reinforce their cooperation and dialogue on the major issues affecting contemporary football. French World Cup winner Lilian Thuram and Cameroon star Samuel Eto’o attend the ceremony and speak as representatives of the unions and their peers.
Four FIFPro Divisions
FIFPro creates four divisions to better anticipate on and react to the latest developments in professional football and to optimise the defence of player’s rights: Africa, America, Asia/Oceania and Europe. The creation of the four divisions enables FIFPro to improve its activities on a continental level. Although the divisions are established in the Spring and Summer of 2007, the official inauguration of all divisions is during the 2007 FIFPro General Assembly in Barcelona, on 22 November.
At FIFPro’s headquarter in Hoofddorp, the Netherlands, representatives of 25 European player unions gather for the first general assembly of FIFPro Division Europe. The most important goals of the new division are (1) closer cooperation of all European players’ associations, (2) to improve the working conditions of professional footballers in Europe, (3) concluding a collective bargaining agreement at European (international) level, (4) the creation of a pan-European career fund and pension fund for internationally migratory professional footballers.
Casablanca, Morocco, is the host of the first ever FIFPro Africa general assembly. Representatives of players’ unions from four African countries attend the meeting: Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt and South Africa. They are joined by FIFPro President Philippe Piat and Secretary General Theo van Seggelen. The objectives of FIFPro Africa are (1) the development of new players’ unions, (2) a structural cooperation with Africa’s governing body CAF, and (3) to improve the relations with national FA’s.
MoU FIFPro and UEFA
On 11 October 2007, FIFPro Division Europe and UEFA sign a Memorandum of Understanding in Brussels to promote cooperation, friendly relations and unity between European football’s governing body and the organisation of professional footballers’ trade unions in Europe. FIFPro President Philippe Piat and UEFA President Michel Platini put their signatures on the historic agreement.
To further develop football in Asia and Oceania, FIFPro establishes FIFPro Division Asia/Oceania. The inaugural congress in Sydney, Australia showcases FIFPro Asia’s aims and objectives including encouraging the establishment of professional footballers’ associations throughout Asia and beginning a dialogue involving associations, leagues, clubs and players that will assist Asian football in becoming increasingly competitive and professional. Representatives of three Asian players’ associations attended the Sydney meeting: Australia, Japan and New Zealand.
30 January 2008: Scottish professional footballer Andy Webster is the first player to successfully invoke Article 17 of the FIFA Transfer Regulations, which enable a player aged under 28 to terminate his contract after three years (and older players to leave after two years) without facing sporting sanctions. Webster terminated his contract with Scottish club Heart of Midlothian in 2006 to join English side Wigan Athletic. The Court of Arbitration for Sport decides that Webster has to pay the remainder of his contract as compensation for the breach of contract. The Scottish players' union PFA Scotland supported Webster from day one in close cooperation with the FIFPro Legal Department. PFA Chief Executive Fraser Wishart: "Twelve years after Bosman, this is a new groundbreaking decision." Pictured left: PFA Scotland's Fraser Wishart and Tony Higgins, and FIFPro's Wil van Megen.
FIFPro World Selection meets France 1998
On 12 July 2008, France celebrates the 10th anniversary of its 1998 World Cup triumph with a commemorative game between their World Cup heroes and a FIFPro World Selection featuring greats such as Leonardo, Sonny Anderson, Gianfranco Zola, Edgar Davids, Frank de Boer, Pierre van Hooijdonk, Jari Litmanen, Hidetoshi Nakata, Rigobert Song, Emilio Butragueño, Fernando Hierro, Fernando Couto, Pauleta, Davor Suker and Zvonimir Boban, guided by managers Arsène Wenger and Hristo Stoitchkov. The match ends in a 3-3 draw.
The FIFA FIFPro World XI
In 2009, FIFPro teams up with FIFA to organise the FIFA FIFPro World XI. The voting process remains unchanged, as FIFPro still collects the ballots from all players worldwide. But from that moment, each year the World XI will be announced at the FIFA Gala. Monday 21 December marks the first time in history that the 11 best players on the planet share the same stage. The 2009 FIFA FIFPro World XI consists of Iker Casillas, Dani Alves, Nemanja Vidic, John Terry, Patrice Evra; Steven Gerrard, Andrés Iniesta, Xavi; Lionel Messi, Fernando Torres and Cristiano Ronaldo.
FIFPro Golf Tournament
In an effort to strengthen ties with football's legends, FIFPro organises its first golf tournament on May 17 and 18 2010, on the beautiful golf course of Terre Blanche, France. For 4 consecutive years FIFPro welcomes many of football's greatest on the greens of Marrakech, Kiev and Monte Carlo including Marco van Basten, Michel Platini, Andrei Shevshenko, Peter Schmeichel, Henrik Larsson, Tomas Brolin, Ronald de Boer, Teddy Sheringham, Dwight Yorke, Chris Waddle, Karel Poborsky, Patrik Berger, Cosmin Contra, Michel Preud'homme, John Collins, Miguel Angel Nadal, Julio Salinas, Gianfranco Antognoni, Marco Simone, Daniele Massaro, Alain Boghossian, David Ginola, Christophe Dugarry, Christian Karembeu and many, many others.
Black Book Eastern Europe
In 2011, FIFPro and its Eastern European player unions research into problems professional footballers encounter in Eastern Europe: non-payment, violence, match-fixing, bullying and harassment, and racism/discrimination. In total 3,357 footballers in 12 countries participate. Even the most battle hardened union representatives are astonished at the scale of the problems the players face. The results are described in the Black Book Eastern Europe, which is officially presented to representatives of the European Parliament, European Commission and Interpol on Tuesday February 7th 2012, in Brussels, Belgium.
FIFPro Division Africa and CAF sign MoU
February 24th 2011 marks a memorable day for all professional footballers in Africa, as FIFPro Division Africa and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) sign a Memorandum of Understanding. FIFPro Africa’s Secretary General Stéphane Burchkalter, Board Member David Mayébi and CAF President Issa Hayatou officially seal the agreement, which according to Burchkalter is “just the beginning”. “This new partnership is an unprecedented springboard for FIFPro, and it is bound to help us improve the fate of African players all over the continent and make the national federations more aware of the need to intensify their dialogue with our associations.”
Three new FIFPro Tournaments
The FIFPro Tournament becomes a popular service provided by FIFPro and its member unions. After the original (West-European) FIFPro Tournament proved its value, new editions are launched. In 2011, the first Winter Tournament (Finland, Ireland, Norway and Sweden) is organised, as well as the Torneo FIFPro América. In 2013, the first official FIFPro Tournament Central Europe takes place. In 2014, a total of 22 player unions participate in one of the four FIFPro Tournaments.
New contracts for players – Miguel Garcia
The FIFPro Tournament and the national training camps have helped hundreds of players extend their professional football careers. Some of them manage to be quite successful, playing at the highest international levels such as the Champions League or the Copa Libertadores. Miguel Garcia even makes it to the 2011 Europa League final, starting for Portuguese runner up Sporting Braga, two years after participating in the FIFPro Tournament. On the picture, Miguel Garcia (right) in the semi final against Benfica.
Signing Minimum Requirements
After years of tough negotiations with the other stakeholders in European football (ECA, EPFL, UEFA), FIFPro Division Europe achieves the result it coveted: the Autonomous Agreement on Minimum Requirements for Standard Players’ Contracts. On 19 April 2012, FIFPro Europe President Philippe Piat signs the agreement, with almost all European member unions in attendance.
FIFPro Legal Conference
The legal experts of all FIFPro player associations form the backbone of the defense of footballers’ rights. To optimise the knowledge of these experts, FIFPro annually organises Legal Conferences and invites acclaimed keynote speakers to help contribute to the understanding of the legal position of players. The conferences are held all around the world, among others in Indonesia (Division Asia) and Colombia (Division America). The Portuguese player union SJPF is the host of the 2013 conference in Lisbon.
Drogba opens the new FIFPro House
Didier Drogba officially opens the new FIFPro House in Hoofddorp, The Netherlands, on 13 April 2013. The Ivory Coast international, Galatasaray striker and Honorary President of FIFPro Division Africa, shoots a ball through a paper window: the official sign that FIFPro has moved into its modern, three-story office building near the main Dutch airport, Schiphol.
FIFPro welcomes many guests to the opening
The worldwide Professional Footballers Association celebrates the Grand Opening with approximately 300 guests, including representatives of all FIFPro member unions, Roger Blainpain (one of the original FIFPro founders), and both Honorary Presidents Gordon Taylor and Gerardo Movilla.
Players at the opening of the FIFPro House
There are many professional footballers at the event, including players from the Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French and Ivory Coast national teams. On the picture from left to right: Eric Botteghin, Ruud Boymans, Evgeniy Levchenko, Kai Heerings, Mike van der Hoorn, Jordie Clasie, ..., Didier Drogba, Viktor Fisher, Abdeslam Ouaddou, Tony Vilhena, Kees Luyckx, John Goossens, Aruna Dindane, Nick Viergever, Siem de Jong, Daryl Janmaat, Niklas Moisander, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Ruben Schaken, Steven Berghuis, Michel Breuer and Erik Falkenburg.
FIFPro House built for the Players
FIFPro Secretary General Theo van Seggelen refuses to grab the spotlight at the opening ceremony: "The FIFPro House is built for the players. It is more than appropriate that they play the biggest role in the opening of the new office. Today, the spotlight belongs to them."
Special visit from Barca's World Cup winners
Two days after the official opening, five Barcelona players honour FIFPro with a special visit, as they were unfortunately unable to attend the original ceremony: World Cup winners Carles Puyol, Xavi, Gérard Piqué and Cesc Fabregas and Marc Bartra. They demonstrated their commitment not only to the Spanish union (AFE) but to all professional footballers' associations worldwide.
FIFPro Division America signs MoU with Conmebol
In an effort to ensure the best for football in South America and the Americas as a whole, FIFPro Division America and South American football federation Conmebol sign a Memorandum of Understanding on October 17th 2013 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Conmebol’s President Eugenio Figueredo and FIFPro America President Rinaldo Martorelli sign the agreement.
Don’t Fix It: FIFPro fights match-fixing
To fight match-fixing in football, FIFPro realises the joint project Don’t Fix It with Birkbeck University of London and UEFA, and financially supported by the EU. In FIFPro's opinion, one of the ways to tackle match-fixing in football is to visit the dressing rooms and educate the players about the dangers and risks. Three main results of this joint project are, a Code of Conduct, a players’ research and a Good Practice Guide. The latter two are presented during the closing conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia on June 3rd 2014. Pictured from left to right: Mattias Grafström (UEFA), Theo van Seggelen (FIFPro), Andrew Harvey (Birkbeck) and Georg Pangl (EPFL).
FIFPro partners with Show Racism the Red Card
FIFPro and Show Racism the Red Card officially join hands in December 2014 to combat racism and discrimination, aiming for more diversity in both society and professional football. Through the years, many top footballers from all over the world have contributed to this campaign, which aims to educate school children and football fans. Players like Ryan Giggs, Didier Drogba, Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto'o showed the campaign's red card to illustrate that there is no place for racism and discrimination in football.
New Women’s Football Committee
FIFPro establishes a Women's Football Committee in December 2014 to provide female professionals with a platform to address their growing needs on a global level. Former Sweden goalkeeper Caroline Jönsson is named Chair. Next to that, FIFPro offers female players from countries where it's not yet possible to become a member of the national players' union the possibility to become a direct member of FIFPro. Many of the world's top female players - including former World Players of the Year Abby Wambach, Marta and Nadine Angerer - support this initiative.
All the game's stars vote for the World XI
Over the years, the FIFA FIFPro World XI became a household name, an election in which all players worldwide, from unknown players in lower divisions, to the biggest stars on the planet want to make their voice heard. In 2014, FIFPro celebrates the tenth edition of the World XI. The campaign is a successful one, as more players than ever participate in the vote. More than 23,500 professional footballers, including many stars, all over the planet pick their eleven favorite players. Above a collage of some of the greatest players who’ve cast their votes throughout the years.
FIFPro returns to Paris
On 10 and 11 February 2015, a delegation made up of representatives from the five founding player associations of FIFPro (England, France, Italy, Netherlands, Scotland), together with former Presidents and current leadership figures recently returned to the French capital to mark the official start of FIFPro's 50th anniversary. One of FIFPro's founding fathers, Michel Hidalgo, is also present, stating, "This profession did not exist in 1965. We gathered to clarify and contribute with something new for the betterment of those who wanted to become a professional footballer." Pictured from left to right: Damiano Tommasi, Stéphane Burchkalter, Jean-Jacques Bertrand, Gordon Taylor, Leonardo Grosso, Philippe Piat, Gerardo Movilla, Theo van Seggelen, Michel Hidalgo, Tony Higgins, Bobby Barnes and Fraser Wishart.
FIFPro Online Academy graduates
FIFPro celebrates the first graduates from the FIFPro Online Academy, during a special ceremony in the FIFPro House, on 18 February 2015. Six students receive their BA degree in Sports Management. All six - Shane Birtles (UK), Kim Erik Deinoff (Norway), Chrysostomos Kalos (Cyprus), Jon Inge Høiland (Norway), Morten Koch Nielsen and Rasmus Koch Nielsen (Denmark) - successfully followed an education programme developed by FIFPro and the University College of Northern Denmark.
Dutch and Spanish players support FIFPro
The national team players of the Netherlands and Spain join together on March 31st 2015 as part of a special initiative - from the Dutch and Spanish player associations VVCS and AFE - to celebrate FIFPro's 50th Anniversary. A giant banner is unfurled moments before their international friendly gets underway at the Amsterdam Arena in a sign of solidarity and appreciation for the World Players' Union. One of FIFPro's founding fathers, Gerard Kerkum (purple tie), is on the pitch alongside the players, VVCS Chairman Danny Hesp, AFE President Luis Rubiales (also FIFPro Vice President) and FIFPro Secretary-General, Theo van Seggelen.
Launch of outreach program for female players
FIFPro officially unveiled several initiatives designed to usher in a new era of gender equality in world football, including a global mobilization and outreach campaign to secure the fundamental rights of female players, an Advisory Board of respected past and present international stars, a global player survey, and plans to create a player-driven World XI award for women.
Prominent female players support initiative
FIFPro made the announcement during a special press conference in Vancouver, Canada, on the eve of the final of the 2015 Women’s World Cup. Some of the world’s most prominent female players attended the press conference, including Verónica Boquete (Spain), Karina LeBlanc (Canada) and Lydia Williams (Australia), while other stars appeared in a special video: including Marta (Brazil), Therese Sjogran (Sweden) and Anja Mittag (Germany).
2015 FIFPro Tournament – Anniversary Edition
To celebrate its 50th birthday, FIFPro organises a special edition of the FIFPro Tournament for out of contract players. Teams representing 18 European players’ unions compete in a knock-out tournament played across Europe. More than 300 professional footballers joined their union’s team, to showcase their skills and fitness in an effort to find a new club and continue their career as a professional footballer. France, Poland, Czech Republic and Spain qualify for a trip to Rijnsburg (the Netherlands), where the semifinals and final are scheduled. Led by former national team player Jiri Jarosik, the Czech players union CAFH beats Spain in the final and raises the cup.
FIFPro legal action against the transfer system
FIFPro files legal action against FIFA, by lodging a complaint with the European Commission, challenging the global transfer market system governed by FIFA’s regulations as being anti-competitive, unjustified and illegal. FIFPro asks the European Commission to investigate whether FIFA’s regulations prevent clubs from fairly competing on the market to acquire sporting talent, harming the interests of players, smaller professional teams and their supporters.
“European Commission has to apply the Law”
FIFPro states the current transfer system can no longer be justified or protected by the so-called ‘specificity of sport’, as it fails to attain its objectives: contractual stability, financial solidarity (redistribution of revenue), competitive balance, integrity and stability of competitions, and training of young players. FIFPro President Philippe Piat: “The European Commission holds the key to reforming the professional football industry more than any internal governance reform process can, by simply applying the law.”
Research reveils footballers' mental health
New FIFPro research shows that symptoms of mental health problems are more widespread in current and former professional footballers than in the general population: 38% of active and 35% of former players suffer from symptoms of depression. FIFPro also found a strong correlation between severe injuries and players’ mental wellbeing. The research, led by FIFPro Chief Medical Officer Dr. Vincent Gouttebarge and Professor Gino Kerkhoffs, combined data from 826 current and former players from 11 member unions.
FIFPro 50 Years - The Congress
FIFPro celebrates its 50th anniversary by gathering its members for three events in five days. The annual General Assembly kicks off the festivities. In total more than 170 representatives of players’ associations attend the congress and illustrate that the state of the World Players’ Union is stronger and more determined than ever.
FIFPro 50 Years - Legal Legends at Legal Congress
FIFPro’s anniversary coincides with the 20 birthday of the Bosman Case Ruling. FIFPro honours Jean-Marc Bosman and 7 other athletes who took legal action to fight the powers in sports, for their own and other athletes’ benefit, including former football players George Eastham, Olivier Bernard and Zahir Belounis, speed skater Claudia Pechstein, basketball player Jyri Lehtonen, swimmer David Meca Medina and cyclist/pacer Bruno Walrave. To illustrate their importance, FIFPro welcomes numerous legal experts for a 2-day legal conference.
FIFPro 50 Years - Celebration Night
Exactly 50 years after the first ever meeting in Paris, FIFPro celebrates its anniversary with a special gala dinner attended by more than 300 guests, including player union representatives, stakeholders and partners. The dinner is also attended by three honorary presidents Gordon Taylor, Gerardo Movilla and Roger Blanpain, and founding member Gerard Kerkum. On video, the world’s leading footballers congratulate FIFPro, including Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Marta and Division Africa Honorary President Didier Drogba.
Education for future union leaders
Seventeen officials of player associations from 15 countries graduate from an executive education program organised by FIFPro and London's Birkbeck University aimed to equip a future generation of leaders with skills to lead all union’s forward, including FIFPro.
Female Players vote for their World XI
“A new landmark for the women’s game.” FIFPro announces the Women’s World XI. It is not an official vote yet, but a pilot with female players in 20 countries voting. The concept of a Women’s World XI developed over the course of 2015 after FIFPro listened to numerous requests from female players seeking the same recognition as their male counterparts.
Women's World XI: Pilot is a 'Great Step'
The following players made the team: Hope Solo (USA); Wendie Renard (France), Kadeisha Buchanan (Canada), Meghan Klingenberg and Julie Johnston (both USA); Carli Lloyd (USA), Amandine Henry (France) and Aya Miyama (Japan); Eugenie Le Sommer (France), Celia Sasic and Anja Mittag (both Germany). World Player of the Year, Carli Lloyd said. “This is a great step forward in terms of equality, respect and recognition for women’s football. I’d like to thank FIFPro for making this possible. It’s an initiative that will be appreciated by female players all over the world.”