PFA joins Fifpro’s legal challenge to FIFA’s ‘overloaded’ international calendar

June 14 – England’s Professional Footballers’ Association has joined the Fifpro-led legal action against FIFA over the “overloaded and unworkable” football calendar.

The English players’ union will be a co-claimant in a case to be heard in the Belgian courts, alongside France’s UNFP and the European division of Fifpro.

The PFA confirmed it had “joined a legal case which will seek to challenge the structures of the current football calendar by enforcing the legal rights of players to take guaranteed and protected breaks”.

Last month Fifpro and the World Leagues Association warned FIFA they would take legal action if the sport’s global governing body did not reschedule the 32-team Club World Cup due to be played in the United States next summer.

The European Court of Justice is being asked to provide a preliminary ruling on the interpretation of EU law. The ECJ’s ruling would then be referred back to the Belgian courts for a final ruling.

The case will be fought for the unions by Jean-Louis Dupont, who was famously part of the legal team which secured the landmark Bosman ruling in 1995 that changed the face of the transfer market as we know it.

“This is an important moment for players and for their rights as employees,” said PFA chief executive Maheta Molango (pictured). “Everyone across football knows that the fixture calendar is broken to the point that it has now become unworkable.”

“The most in-demand players are now part of an endless schedule of games and competitions for club and country, with their limits constantly being pushed through expansion and the creation of new competitions.

“I am constantly told by members that what they want is a properly protected break where they can rest and recharge. Those who run the game know this. We have made sure they have heard it directly from players, but nothing has been done.

“There are too many emerging instances across football where the rights of players, and the legal implications of decisions by governing bodies and competition organisers, are seen as something that can just be ignored. Too many within football act like it is exempt from the normal requirements of employers and employees.

“Players are not being listened to and they want to see action. As their union, we have a duty to intervene and to enforce their legal rights as employees. Ultimately, that time has now come.”

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