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FIFPro welcomes the statement made by the EU Expert Group ‘Good Governance’, which emphasises the importance of application of national and EU law principles in professional sports. FIFPro fully agrees with this statement.

 

In its July 2013 discussion document Supervision of sports agents and transfers of players, notably young players the EU Expert Group ‘Good Governance’ addressed the outcome of the KEA Study on the Economic and Legal Aspects of Transfers of Players (presented on Thursday 7 February by the European Commission) and the comments made by the stakeholders in professional football on this study.

 

The main issues of this discussion document were the supervision of sports agents and the protection of young players. On the issue of agents, note was taken of the new schedule presented by FIFA and of the willingness of football stakeholders to work together with FIFA on a new set-up. It also emerged that certification of the agents/intermediaries was an issue to be addressed. On the issue of transfers, the good work carried out by FIFA notably through TMS with regard to the protection of minors was welcomed.

 

The EU Expert Group also took note of the fact that in the field of transfers EU law principles are not respected although FIFA Regulations require this. This was part of the informal agreement between FIFA and the European Commission in 2001.

 

‘Transfer rules (…) have to be in line with EU law, notably in the field of Internal Market and anti-trust’, the EU Expert Group states in its discussion document.

 

‘The Group should stress the importance of respecting national and EU law principles when regulating activities in the field of transfers; the Group should also underline the importance of having a strong co-operation between the sports movement and public authorities in addressing some of the issues presented in the Study.’

 

‘In this context, it is proposed that the Group invites football stakeholders to consider the possibility of relying on the EU Social Dialogue Committee as an appropriate forum to discuss certain recommendations included in the Study. The Group should also invite the Committee to ensure that FIFA is properly involved in its discussions in case the topics on the agenda cover matters falling under FIFA's direct responsibility.’

 

Concerning the respect of EU law, FIFPro observes that the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne does not accept this fact and keeps on applying Swiss law principles even if they are contrary to EU law principles.

 

Wil van Megen, Director of the FIFPro Legal Department: ‘The best example is the De Sanctis case. This was a dispute between an Italian player (Morgan De Sanctis) and a Spanish club (Sevilla) against an Italian club (Udinese). There is no question about the fact that this was completely within EU-territory. Despite this, CAS applied Swiss law to decide the case’.

 

‘For FIFPro this is not acceptable and it is a good thing that the EU Expert Group addresses this subject as it is an essential principle’.

 

The EU Expert Group’s suggestion of bringing this subject within the sectoral Social Dialogue is also welcomed by FIFPro.