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FIFPro urges the Serbian professional football league to respect the autonomous agreement on the minimum requirements for standard player contracts. The league and the clubs in Serbia want to prevent players from using independent arbitration.

The Serbian clubs associated in the Jelen Super League Clubs Association have created a so-called gentlemen's agreement, which basically implies that no club will sign a player to a new contract if that player has filed a case against another club at the national dispute resolution chamber (NDRC).

The President of the Association of the Serbian Super League Clubs, Zvezdan Terzic, confirmed the existence of this agreement on Serbian radio. He said that the clubs will no longer engage footballers who legally claim and exercise their rights. He added that this measure was necessary to protect the clubs from players' representatives trying to take money from them.

The Serbian professional footballers association (SPFN), deems the gentlemen's agreement "unacceptable", says union President Mirko Poledica. "This agreement will confront the players with great problems, it will practically be impossible for them to ply their trade in our country. Each year, there is an average total of 150 disputes that require arbitration. If players do not get paid by their clubs and cannot claim what they are legally owed, then how will their rights be respected? The players fear for their future."

FIFPro, the world players' union, fully supports the Serbian professional footballers. "The gentlemen's agreement cannot be tolerated", says Theo van Seggelen, FIFPro Secretary General.

"In 2012, FIFPro and all other stakeholders in professional football – UEFA, ECA (the European Clubs Association) and the EPFL (the European Professional Football Leagues) – signed the autonomous agreement on the minimum requirements for standard player contracts. As they are members of EPFL, ECA and UEFA, the Serbian stakeholders are also bound to this agreement, which means that both the league and the clubs need to respect it."

"We will address this gentlemen's agreement with UEFA, the EPFL and the ECA."

Respect of contract is a fundamental right for all professional footballers as they are workers like any others in the eyes of the law. If players do not get paid, they have the right to go to the national dispute resolution chamber (NDRC).

Poledica: "At this moment, the gentlemen's agreement is the number one issue in Serbia. All players are deeply concerned. This week we had a meeting with all team captains. We are all united in trying to do everything in our power to get rid of this gentlemen's agreement."

The players do not stand alone in their fight, says Poledica. "We have received the support of the two Vice-Presidents of the Football Association of Serbia (FSS), Mr. Ivan Curkovic and Mr. Goran Milanovic. They condemned the decision of the League and supported the players union. And the President of the Serbian coaches association publicly gave his full support to the players and our union."