November 7 – After a lengthy campaign for better treatment of its members, the world players’ union FIFpro has dropped its legal bid against FIFA to outlaw football’s transfer system believing it has won significant concessions.
FIFpro took its restraint of trade case to the European Commission in 2015 and has since banged the drum vociferously for a change in the law.
Experts warned that a judgement in FIFpro’s favour could potentially lead to a free-for-all with repercussions as far-reaching as the Bosman ruling. But under a six-year deal, FIFpro has now ended its battle with FIFA in the hope players will find it easier to break contracts and leave clubs who delay paying their salaries.
Under what is being hailed as a landmark agreement, as well as being able to leave, players who have not been paid for two months or have been the victim of abusive behaviour will be able to seek compensation. If clubs do not comply with a FIFA ruling, they will face a transfer ban.
FIFPro president Philippe Piat commented: “FIFPro is pleased with the new spirit of cooperation shown by FIFA and its willingness to listen to the concerns of players.
“This mutual understanding has helped set in motion the biggest changes to football transfer rules since 2001. These rule changes will help protect the 60,000 players FIFPro represents against unfair treatment.”
FIFA, FIFPro, the European Club Association and the World Leagues Forum have also reached an accord to work with FIFA’s new Football Stakeholders Committee, which includes the national FAs and confederations. Their first priority will be the creation of a task force to review the transfer system, starting in January. It will include the role of agents, transfer windows and the loan system.
Greeting the deal as “an important milestone in improving football’s global governance,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said: “I have witnessed unprecedented cooperation between FIFA, FIFPro, the European Club Association and the World Leagues Forum.
“These were complicated negotiations with the game’s key stakeholders and each one has made some compromises, but at the end of the day, this agreement is beneficial for all and the ultimate winner is football.”
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