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FIFPro Division Europe gathered in Prague for a meeting with representatives of all European unions for professional footballers.

 

During this meeting in the captial of the Czech Republic the FIFPro members discussed, among other things, Third Party Ownership of Players, Supranational Competitions and Club Academies in foreign countries.

 

Third Party Ownership
Several years ago, FIFA forbade Third Party Ownership, but there is still a lot of it around. Various clubs work with investment companies or other external financiers who claim to hold the rights of the players.

 

FIFPro Division Europe firmly supports the decision of FIFPro to abolish Third Party Ownership. FIFPro is of the opinion that third party ownership limits the freedom of movement of players, because it is the third party that decides where the player will be playing. This could lead to abuse of players.

 

FIFPro Division Europe has two comments concerning the FIFA prohibition.

  • A transition period must be introduced. There are many clubs who currently enjoy financial support from third parties. This must be slowly and gradually reduced, certainly now when world football is facing a major financial crisis.
  • A number of clubs have set up an investment fund. FIFPro would like to see a study into whether these funds have any influence on the technical policy of the clubs. If an investment fund does have influence on the technical policy of the club, it should be prohibited. If it has no influence on the technical policy of the club, then an exception could be made for this third party. 

 

Supranational competitions
FIFPro Division Europe is not in favour of supranational competitions. FIFPro has always protected and will always protect the national competitions.

 

In FIFPro’s opinion, the establishment of a supranational competition will be at the expense of the national competitions. Each national league desperately needs the participation of its own top teams. Without these top teams, FIFPro  expects to see a negative impact on the national championships.

 

Several years ago, three countries in Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway and Sweden) experimented with a supranational competition: the Royal League. UEFA and the national FAs accepted the Royal League under the condition that it did not influence the national leagues. Because of this, the Royal League was commercially not viable. The Royal League also had to cope with a lack of interest from both spectators and TV-viewers. The competition was held three times and then discontinued.

 

Club academies in foreign countries
FIFPro Division Europe would like further study to be undertaken into the football academies that various clubs have set up abroad. In recent years, a number of mainly large worldwide clubs have opened academies in other countries.

 

FIFPro would like to investigate the motives for opening and running such an academy. According to FIFPro there are two possibilities:

  • The club decides to set up an academy to commercialise its own brand: so-called branding;
  • The club decides to open an academy in order to attract young talent and thus compete with the academies of local clubs.

 

FIFPro has no objection to branding by a club. But if a club intends to compete with clubs in the ‘guest country,’ then FIFPro is opposed to such academies.