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FIFPro, the World Players' Union, called on European football's key stakeholders to embrace the 2012 Autonomous Agreement and implement the minimum requirements for standard player contracts, universally agreed by UEFA, ECA, EPFL and FIFPro Division Europe.

FIFPro hosted a two-day seminar at its Amsterdam headquarters to highlight the importance of having FIFA-compliant National Dispute Resolution Chambers (NDRCs) in domestic markets and effective Disciplinary Procedures that guarantee clarity, fairness and impartiality when disputes arise between players and clubs.

More than 150 guests, including representatives of player unions, clubs, leagues and national federations from the 28 European Union member states and beyond, heard about the progress being made in the implementation of the minimum requirements for standard player contracts.

NDRCs are a key component of the Autonomous Agreement and a central part of a European Commission funded project to help improve labour relations across the EU and UEFA territory, particularly in the eastern sector. A joint stakeholder task force has so far made twelve visits to Turkey, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russia, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

Participants saw presentations from Joaquim Evangelista (SJPF: Portuguese players' union), Phillipe Diallo (UCPF: French Union of Professional Clubs) and Frans de Weger (FBO: Dutch Federation of Professional Clubs) to showcase three examples of NDRCs which have had a positive impact in their respective markets.

FIFA's Omar Ongaro (Head of the Players' Status and Governance department) gave the discussion an international dimension in his overview of the world governing body's Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC) and the standards applied to NDRCs according to the relevant FIFA circulars.

The Autonomous Agreement also outlines minimum requirements to help standardize how clubs and players address disputes internally. Ivo Trijbits, a lawyer representing Ajax Amsterdam explained how the Dutch club handles these cases, citing rare instances of discrimination, petty theft and one extreme example of a player found carrying a gun in the dressing room.

The topic from a players' perspective was illustrated by Nick Cusack, Assistant Chief Executive of England's PFA (Professional Footballers' Association) and Mads Oland, a board member of FIFPro Division Europe, provided examples of good practice in Denmark, which also addressed grievance procedures of employees towards their employers.

Mark Hovell, a CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport) arbitrator who advises player unions in the UK also spoke on the subject. As did Iain Blair, representing Scotland's Professional Football League and Lucio Colantuoni, a CAS arbitrator who serves as a member of the Italian football association's arbitral chamber.

Bobby Barnes, President of FIFPro Division Europe, said: "The Autonomous Agreement is an important instrument to help us raise standards across Europe, which will be beneficial for all stakeholders and our industry."

"Our research shows a need to target a number of priority countries in eastern Europe. Too often we see players complain about not receiving their salaries on time. That can lead to disputes with the club, claims and counter claims. When that occurs, players need to be sure they can always access fair proceedings."

"There is still much work to be done to bring many countries up to speed, but the framework is there through the Autonomous Agreement to make Europe a better workplace for all professional footballers and we have seen the implementation process start to succeed in some countries. We are sure this event gave an impetus to everybody, to follow their responsibilities under our agreement."

The Autonomous Agreement is a joint-initiative involving FIFPro Division Europe, UEFA (European football's governing body), ECA (European Clubs' Association) and the EPFL (European Professional Football Leagues).