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Representatives of 150,000 athletes (including professional footballers) from across the globe voted unanimously to establish a federation of world player associations, earlier this week during the World Athletes Summit in Nyon, Switzerland.


The ‘Nyon Declaration’ is a landmark in the fight to champion athletes’ rights, said FIFPro Secretary General Theo van Seggelen. ‘Professional sport is global and therefore solutions to the problems we have in sports need to be solved on a global level. For that reason today we took a big step forward.’


In an historic first meeting, FIFPro and more than a 100 players’ associations (including FIFPro) from as far a field as Bangladesh and New Zealand, representing sports as diverse as Gaelic football, ice hockey and cricket, came together at UNI’s office to demand that the rights of athletes be fully respected.


The key topics discussed included collective bargaining, the status of players, and the reform of the anti-doping rules, anti-corruption measures, image rights, and dual careers/transition programs.


All the players’ associations present stressed the importance of education for athletes and tailored training that will give them the chance to fulfil their potential once their playing careers have come to an end.


Philip Jennings, General Secretary of UNI Global, told the participants: ‘I’m so proud to say that I was there when the Nyon Declaration was signed. Something is changing – you are changing the world of sport. This is a breakthrough for athletes. The players’ associations now have a united global voice and the governing sports bodies and governments will have to listen.’


Walter Palmer, responsible for sport at UNI Global Union, added: ‘There is a consensus among players that a crisis in sport governance exists. Athletes now have a platform to assert their independent voice without being filtered by sport administrators. We will engage with the World Anti Doping Agency WADA. We will engage with the International Olympic Committee IOC and the international federations over the unfair Olympic contract and we will support players worldwide with their struggle to be recognized and heard.’


The president of the European Athletes Association Yves Kummer concluded: ‘It’s finally time to give the sport back to the athletes. The athlete trade unions are the only independent voice of sportsmen and sportswomen. And they need to take their place within the family of sport.’




Click to read the entire Nyon Declaration: