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FIFPro has agreed with all other stakeholders in professional football to look for a structural solution that must prevent players being put under pressure by clubs to renew their contract.

 

‘All parties agree that it is intolerable that a player can be put under pressure to amend his contract’, say Theo van Seggelen. The secretary general of FIFPro spoke after a meeting of the Professional Football Strategy Council in Nyon, the periodical meeting, organised by UEFA and attended by representatives of the players (FIFPro), the clubs (ECA) and the leagues (EPFL) and an observer from FIFA.

 

During the meeting, Van Seggelen had raised the fact that FIFPro is very concerned about the apparently growing number of professional football players who are placed under pressure by their clubs to change their contract.

 

‘We can distinguish two situations here,’ says Van Seggelen. ‘First there are players who are forced to sign a new contract for a reduced salary. Second, there are players who are forced to prolong their contract in order to prevent the player leaving the club transfer-free at the end of the contract. Both situations arise during the duration of the contract.’

 

If a player refuses to meet the demands of the club to sign a new contract, the club then applies penalties. The player is, for example, confined to the bench, banned from the competition selection, or obliged to train at different times and/or separately from the rest of the players. Only when he has signed the amended contract do these penalties disappear.

 

‘We all agree that this is not right,’ says Van Seggelen. He refers to the agreement that FIFPro reached in 2001 with the FIFA and the European Commission.

 

‘Contractual stability is a core concept of the agreement. All parties respect the general legal premise ‘pacta sunt servanda’, which means that all agreements must be complied with.’

 

‘Therefore, contracts must be respected. For FIFPro it is, for example, crucial that players get paid their salaries, while clubs consider it to be essential that players play at their very best when on the pitch.’

 

FIFPro, UEFA, ECA and the EPFL now wish to include explicitly in the regulations that players must be prevented from being placed under pressure to change their contract. ‘That is, incidentally, a complicated matter, we all realise that, but if the parties really want it, then a good solution can be reached,’ says Van Seggelen.

 

The next opportunity for the four parties to discuss this subject is at the meeting in Brussels on Monday 17 December in the framework of the Social Dialogue.