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As if they had won a championship title, that's how the National Federation of Professional Football Athletes (Fenapaf) and all the leaders of Brazilian players' unions celebrated the inclusion of a Financial Fair Play system in the country's football association's (CBF) competition regulations. Recently, these regulations were unanimously approved by the twenty football clubs belonging to the Brazilian Serie A, the country's top competition.

Officially, from now on, clubs from Brazil's top three divisions which delay the payment of wages will face sanctions, ranging from deduction of points to relegation. The measure is similar to the Financial Fair Play regulations that introduced by the football federation of São Paulo in 2012.

Those Financial Fair Play regulations were developed in 2009 by the Union of Professional Athletes of São Paulo (Sapesp) and presented to the Paulista Football Federation, at that time led by Marco Polo Del Nero, currently president-elect of the CBF.

Rinaldo Martorelli, current President of both Sapesp and Fenapaf, initiated the process and was the first one to advocate points deduction in case of payment delays. Martorelli – also FIFPro Vice-President and FIFPro America President - worked for years to convince club directors in São Paulo of the plan's value.

"We were able to make club managers in São Paulo understand that the inclusion of Financial Fair Play in the regulations would benefit not only the athletes, but also the competition", explained Martorelli. "The clubs' biggest problem was that they would ignore that they had to deal with their financial problems, and as a consequence this led to delays in payments to football players".

Once the measure became official in São Paulo, Sapesp and Fenapaf started to fight for implementation on a national scale.

The financial fair play system led to a structural improvement in the Paulista championships. According to Fenapaf and the CBF, several clubs decided to pay their players' wages after these players had made formal complaints and the clubs were facing a deduction of points.

Martorelli: "The inclusion and approval of Financial Fair Play in the general regulation allows us to celebrate a historical victory born inside Sapesp and which has now become a reality for all athletes in the country".

"Creation of the Labour Fair Play represents an important and decisive step for better organisation of Brazilian football", said CBF President-elect Marco Polo Del Nero.

Also read: Non-payment of wages: The struggle cannot stop


Photo (left to right): Rinaldo Martorelli and Marco Polo Del Nero