Transfers and player status under the microscope
© AFP

The international congress on the FIFA Regulations for the Status and Transfer of Players, held in Madrid on 26-27 October, provided an opportunity for over 300 experts from the world of football to gain a greater understanding of this piece of FIFA legislation.

The opening session began with the president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), Angel Maria Villar Llona, reminding those present that the meeting was a continuation of the congress held a year earlier on the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), and that the ultimate aim was to promote the Spanish forums, through the RFEF, as a reference point in international sports law. "During the course of these two days we will analyse and explain the entire content of the Transfer Regulations with the assistance of the world's leading professionals, who will be giving papers and attending the events," commented Villar. "I would like to thank FIFA for their hard work in making this possible and for bringing everyone together."

In the first of the speeches Slim Aloulou, the chairman of the Players' Status Committee and president of the Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC), explained how the FIFA Regulations for the Status and Transfer of Players had developed over the years. In addition, he analysed five basic aspects of the new regulations in detail: the defence and protection of minors, the training of young players, the concept of solidarity, the stability of player contracts and the resolution of disputes by FIFA.

The day's next paper emphasised FIFA's role in providing the necessary guarantees for the Regulations and recalled the words of FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter: "Through its procedures FIFA offers its members fair, balanced and, above all, efficient jurisprudence in the field of sport." A detailed analysis of how the decisions of the CAS and the DRC are implemented at national and international level was also provided.

Administrative procedures involved in the transfer of players between associations also came under analysis, and several queries concerning the international transfer certificate were cleared up. The morning session came to an end with a summary of the laws applicable to the Players' Status Committee and the DRC, illustrated by a number of actual cases.

In the afternoon session attention turned to the termination of contracts following the so-called "protected period", with the case of Andrew Webster coming under analysis. This particular theme served as a link for a round table discussion involving representatives from clubs, university lecturers and the vice-president of FIFPRO, Gerardo Gonzalez Movilla, in representation of the players, in a stimulating debate on various burning issues in the world of football, such as the protection of young players, compensation for the clubs that train them, and the varying situations thrown up by the FIFA Regulation.

Day two of the event began with an analysis of the contractual stability between players and clubs, a topic that had already sparked a passionate exchange of opinions in the round table.

The specific example of Argentinian football was used to assess the unilateral extension of contracts between clubs and players, and an overview of how the issue has evolved over the years, illustrated with relevant practical cases, led to many questions from the floor. A subsequent paper on training compensation, which is essential for the protection of the clubs who bring players on and for fostering solidarity between football clubs, proved extremely interesting.

An in-depth explanation of the solidarity mechanism was also provided along with its calculation and payment formulae. The paper also looked in detail at five aspects that are the source of some miscomprehension: the case of national transfers; the cost of the transfer itself, individual parties with the right to receive payments during loan periods, international loan deals and private agreements reversing the individual party contractually obliged to make payments.

The closing speech was given by Massimo Coccia, a CAS arbitrator, who used a range of different examples to explain various appeal processes lodged before the CAS against rulings made by FIFA bodies. And finally, following two intense days of analysis, study and debate, a promise was made by all to return in a year's time for another thought-provoking congress on sports law.