FIFPRO House 2

"It's what we were all hoping for" – member unions react to FIFPRO governance upgrades

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FIFPRO House 2
  • Representatives from FIFPRO member unions react to positive governance reforms

  • Recommendations approved include strengthening of FIFPRO’s executive management team, reducing size of 18-person global board to 12, and introducing maximum of three term limits for global board members

  • Streamlined processes at global level will help FIFPRO member unions better serve footballers at domestic level

FIFPRO member unions last week approved by an overwhelming majority governance recommendations to enhance the global representation of professional footballers following a review by management consultancy Oliver Wyman.

The governance upgrades that will be introduced over the coming months will streamline how the global board and management operate, making FIFPRO more agile to support and empower players around the world.

Among the recommendations approved were the strengthening of FIFPRO’s executive management team, reducing the size of the 18-person global board to 12 persons, and introducing a maximum of three term limits for global board members.

Representatives of player unions spoke about the encouraging first steps taken, while recognising the exciting opportunities for future progress.

"I was happy with the unionism of the members, what they voted for and what we want to achieve in the future," said Desmond Maringwa, President of Footballers Union of Zimbabwe. "I think it's a good process. Changing can be tough sometimes, but it's worth it to achieve the new vision. I think it will enhance even more the transparency and solidarity."

Anna Green of New Zealand Professional Footballers’ Association agrees. "I'm optimistic about the changes that are coming to FIFPRO. We’re in a real transitionary period and it's great to see that we're so aligned on the direction that FIFPRO is now going and the reforms that need to come with that. As part of the review, we want to be the best in class; that's what FIFPRO is aiming for – it should be world-leading."

KL Anna Green 2200
Anna Green

Governance review "inevitable" due to FIFPRO’s growth

As a result of FIFPRO’s significant growth in recent years, many member unions felt the governance review was a natural step the organisation had to take.

"The vote was overwhelming and it is what we were all hoping for. It was evident that the institution clearly needed a change," said Sergio Marchi of Argentinian player union FAA. "This change of structure and governance will bring more dynamism to the decisions, management and leadership of the organisation. The assembly gave a vote of confidence to this new structure and to those who will participate in some way in the transitional leadership of the organisation."

Bob Foose, Executive Director of Major League Soccer Players Association, said: "It is good to have a deeper look into what you’re doing, even more so for organisations that have been around for a longer time.

"For an organisation as old as FIFPRO, it was necessary and inevitable. As a general matter, periodic strategic reviews are a very positive and productive thing for everybody. I am happy that we have taken this important step; we are on our way."

Sergio Marchi - President FIFPRO Sudamerica
Sergio Marchi

Important domestic work

While much emphasis was placed on the streamlined processes at global level, it is evident how those reform upgrades will benefit the hard work carried out by player unions at domestic level.

Luis Caballero of Bolivian player union FABOL highlights, “the crucial importance of unity and change for player unions” in the context of these reforms. He said: “When you see the collective prevailing like this, it reinforces our strength to continue addressing and fighting our problems domestically. The support we received from all of our peers means a lot to us and makes us stronger."

“We have to make progress”

A new FIFPRO global board will be ratified at the General Assembly in November 2024, marking the beginning of a new and important chapter in the global player union’s history.

PFA Scotland Chief Executive Fraser Wishart was nominated by FIFPRO Europe as one of the division’s representatives to join the new global board alongside nominees from other divisions, subject to member approval at the General Assembly in Indonesia.

Fraser Wishart
Fraser Wishart

FIFPRO Europe are the first division to nominate their representatives for the new global board after the reforms. All other Divisions will follow ahead of the Global General Assembly in November.

“We are the member unions, of course, but behind that is the players – and we have to do our job well. We are a trade union, we represent players, and no matter what the problem is – however big or small – we are there to help them,” said Wishart.

“We have to make progress, use the decisions at the European Court of Justice politically to make things better for players, and on the commercial side, the investment in the new strategy, a big investment into the commercial side to bring in more money for us as member unions. That's important because we need finance to do our jobs in our countries and to provide better benefits for our member players.”