November 13 – Theo Van Seggelen, the public face of world players’ union FIFPro who did more than anyone to campaign for his members, is stepping down as general secretary on January 1 and being replaced by Jonas Baer-Hoffmann.
The Dutchman told 180 player union officials attending FIFPro’s general assembly in Sydney that the time had come to hand over after nearly 30 years.
Appointed in 1992, van Seggelen has played a key role in the growth of FIFPro which has increased its membership to more than 60 associations representing more than 65,000 professional players.
“You do this job with one objective: to fight for the rights of players all over the world,” van Seggelen said. “I am very proud that over the past 25 years we have been able to build a truly global network of unions to work with us. We have had great successes and none bigger than the Jean-Marc Bosman case that gave footballers more freedom of movement than ever before.”
Baer-Hoffmann is a member of FIFPro’s management team who heads the Policy and Strategic relations department and has held the position of Secretary General of FIFPro Europe for two years. He has worked alongside van Seggelen in leading relations with football stakeholders and collaborated with FIFPro member unions on all continents.
Baer-Hoffmann said: “This role is both a huge responsibility and a great opportunity at a time of rapid change in professional football. FIFPRO is an incredible vehicle as a global voice for players and we will keep increasing our capacities to match the powerful forces – both good and bad – in the game.
“Players must be at the heart of in the decisions on everything from gender equality and match calendar to transfer rules and human rights.”
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