FIFPRO introduced an 18-person board, the most diverse in the global player union’s 56-year history, during its General Assembly in November 2021.
Across the Board aims to profile all 18 board members. Next: David Terrier, who represents French player union: Union Nationale des Footballeurs Professionnels (UNFP).
• Former defender and midfielder who represented France at youth level
• Played for Metz, West Ham, Newcastle, Nice, Ajaccio and Creteil
• Joined UNFP in 2007 after 16-year playing career ended
• Union delegate for northern French clubs
• Appointed vice-president of UNFP in 2014
• Joined FIFPRO global board in 2021
What is the relationship between players in France and the UNFP?
David Terrier: We must have that closeness that we’ve always had with the players. We must be ready to listen to the players, so that when we speak it’s not the UNFP or FIFPRO talking, it’s the players who ask us to speak on their behalf - and we must always stick to that. The bond with our members is vital: they have to rely on us and have confidence in us.
What are the main issues you are confronting on behalf of players in France today?
We are entering a period of a more modern kind of football on every level but, as always, we must continue to defend the players, and the rights laid out in their contracts. Especially when we see the failure to honour certain contracts with players who are side-lined or even victims of harassment.
There’s also a financial system that has become established in football, unfortunately on a permanent basis. To me, trading players is a catastrophe for professional football, but especially for footballers themselves, because there’s no longer any respect for the human side; it’s only a matter of financial assets. We have some battles to fight there; the players demand it of us.
Finance and football must live with each other, of course, but often they’re opposed because the players don’t have the same interests as the executives, who are increasingly people who come from finance and only think about football in terms of profit.
What are your first impressions of the new FIFPRO board?
My feeling is that we’re at a real turning point, because there are historic figures like former President Philippe Piat and General Secretary Theo van Seggelen who have retired, or at least have taken more of a back seat. Now there’s a new generation that’s arrived with a new president, David Aganzo, and therefore we have to find a new way of working while conserving FIFPRO’S spirit and objectives.
I have noticed there’s a real will on everyone’s part to try to get to know each other better, to get our bearings and try to create a way of operating that works as well as the one that was there before.
How has it been to replace Philippe Piat as France’s representative on the FIFPRO board?
Everyone will understand that it is impossible to replace a man like Philippe, with everything he’s done and accomplished. He was there almost at the start of the UNFP and of FIFPRO and he won a huge number of battles to benefit players
Fortunately, Philippe has supported me, he has opened doors for me. He has explained to me both how the UNFP works, but also how FIFPRO works. I still keep in very frequent contact with him and he continues to open my eyes and help me grow so as to be able to represent France and FIFPRO in the best possible way.