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A resolution has been adopted today which saw FIFPro's 29 European member countries unanimously support the global campaign to challenge football's crippled transfer system. Details of the legal strategy received their backing during a two-day General Assembly of FIFPro Division Europe at the Westin Hotel in Dublin.

FIFPro, the World Footballers' Association, informed Europe's player representatives of their specific roles as they rallied behind the objectives on a continent where this transforming battle is being played out.

Europe is identified as the key to unlock the restrictions of the transfer system, much like it did when Jean-Marc Bosman challenged the status quo, on the basis of freedom of movement, and won his landmark case in 1995. As such, talks are underway with the European Commission, in Brussels, as FIFPro fine-tunes the basis of its legal complaints.

The President of FIFPro Division Europe Bobby Barnes said, "FIFPro is a global organisation and as such we have to seek solutions on a global scale. Undoubtedly Europe with once again be the focus of change."

"It is easy to sit in the comfort of Western Europe and assume that all is well, but the story is not the same for many of our members in parts of Europe where non-payment of salaries is a way of life and the opportunity to gain compensation is limited in the extreme."

"Without being complacent, although the western league structures have good, strong agreements, we still see some 28% of transfer revenues leaving the game through agents in recent figures published by FIFA," concluded Barnes, who also serves as the deputy chief executive of England's Professional Footballers Association.

Momentum is building worldwide among FIFPro's 55 member countries that fight to protect the welfare of an estimated 65 thousand professional footballers. This week's development in Europe comes just days after FIFPro members from North, Central and South America united behind the initiative during their General Assembly in Guatemala.

The objectives of FIFPro's legal challenge to the transfer system are to ensure professional footballers are afforded the same rights and freedoms of any other worker, as they are employees in the eyes of the law.

In addition, FIFPro aims to prove that football as an industry, which struggles to maintain financial and competitive balance, fails to uphold the stated objectives of FIFA's transfer regulations.

In general terms, the following points reflect FIFPro's objectives in tackling the transfer system.

FIFPro's Objectives

  • To safeguard the workers', social and fundamental rights of professional footballers as well as their fundamental economic freedoms
  • To create a balance of powers between employers and employees on the football labour market.
  • To improve the sustainability, the economic and competitive balance of the football industry through new regulatory mechanisms targeting the product market.
  • Improve football's governance of labour relations through improved working standards and access to impartial arbitration or labour courts.
  • Eliminate harmful and counter-productive restraints of trade
  • Eliminate ineffective and unsustainable financial practices such as inflated agent fees and third-party ownership.

 

MEDIA CONTACT

FIFPro Communications Department
Andrew Orsatti
a.orsatti@fifpro.org
+31 613 645 946