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‘I know we can be successful with the social dialogue in sport.’ That is the opinion of Jean-Paul Tricart, head of the unit Social Dialogue of the European Commission. He was one of the speakers during the European Professional Sportspeoples Forum in Brussels last Monday.


Tricart welcomed the invitation to the forum with representatives of more than 40,000 professional sportspeople in Europe. ‘It gave me the chance to highlight the importance of social dialogue for the workers in the sector of sport’ , he said afterwards in front of the FIFPro camera.


Tricart and the European Commission are convinced that social dialogue is a very important tool to help the social partners in sport find a legal framework. But, as Tricart has experienced,  it is not easy to work with a social dialogue in sports.


‘Because we have to convince the employers and workers of the specific added value of sport for the regulation of what is industrial relations, professional relations, employment relations. (…) It is a bottom-up process. The Commission will offer support, but the success will depend first and foremost on the active mobilization of the employers and the workers.’


During his presentation Tricart advised the sportspeoples’ unions to ‘build on the experience of the professional football players social dialogue committee’. He referred to the efforts of FIFPro, that is trying for many years to establish a collective bargaining agreement through social dialogue with UEFA, ECA and EPFL.


Although FIFPro has not signed an agreement yet, Tricart remained positive: ‘They had some success and some difficulties, but we can build on this experience and I know we can be successful.’


On behalf of FIFPro, its board member Mads Øland is highly involved. ‘The social dialogue is immensely important for players, not only football players but all other athletes’, says Øland, who is also director of the Danish footballers’ association Spillerforeningen.


‘Very soon, we hope to sign the first agreement on social dialogue in the professional football sector, because that will enable  football players all over Europe to have minimum standards in their contracts. We hope to come to a conclusion on that point within a few months.’