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Professional Football Programmes

Alexis Henriquez (R) of Atletico Nacional celebrates with team mates after victory over Club America
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FIFA’s Professional Football Department provides comprehensive services and programmes to ensure the effective professionalisation of clubs. These programmes include club licensing, the establishment of National Dispute Resolution Chambers (NDRCs) and other club professionalisation programmes.

Club licensing is used as a tool for club and league professionalisation. It uses principle-based criteria to allow for a tailored and flexible approach to setting minimum standards which clubs must satisfy in order to be licensed appropriately by the licensing body.

The establishment of a national dispute resolution chamber, in collaboration with professional football stakeholders, is part of a long-term strategy to position member associations and leagues as regulatory entities for domestic club football. NDRCs are competent to hear disputes related to employment and contractual stability, training compensation and solidarity contributions between clubs belonging to the same association. These bodies will provide a service which allows for solutions which cater to circumstances of the game at national level.

Other professional football programmes include assistance with setting up leagues and advice on strategic planning, commercialisation, marketing and communication, sponsorship and TV deals, and education support for league officials.

About Club Licensing
In October 2016, FIFA President Gianni Infantino unveiled FIFA 2.0: The Vision for the Future, the organisation’s vision and founding document re-establishing FIFA’s core objectives – to promote the game of football, protect its integrity, and bring the game to all – thereby establishing the way forward for FIFA as the steward of global football. FIFA’s path to realising this vision will be grounded in three key objectives – to grow the game, to enhance the football experience, and to build a stronger institution.

Central to fulfilling the objective of growing the game is the further professionalisation of club football around the world, as it plays an integral role in the wider development of men’s and women’s football. In line with confederations and stakeholders' view, FIFA's Football Stakeholders Committee decided on 23 March 2017 to transform FIFA Club Licensing into a flexible and principle-based club professionalization program.

FIFA's Professional Football Department is leading these efforts, working in partnership with the six confederations, through the FIFA Club Licensing Programme, which has been designed to establish standards for certain key areas of club football development and governance. FIFA's role is to provide tools and deliver tailored services as well as expert's advice for club licensing's implementation and also to facilitate the sharing of best practices and experiences among confederations and member associations.

The approach adapts globally and constantly takes the different club football realities on the ground and in each corner of the world into account. This enables FIFA to act as resource and standard-setting body and as a central, global benchmarking hub, while confederations are empowered to handle the regulatory and enforcement aspects of the process as it relates to their own competitions.

The work of FIFA’s Professional Football Department with the confederations focuses on the further development club licensing frameworks at confederation level and member association level. FIFA aims to effectively leverage the club licensing system to enhance the growth of the game globally – whether through improving the standard of play on the pitch, professionalising the game’s administration, or enhancing the women’s game and youth programmes.

About NDRCs
Currently, only a limited number of FIFA’s member associations have an NDRC or a body structured along similar lines that fulfils the criteria of art. 22 b) of the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players.

In 2016, FIFA’s Professional Football Department, in collaboration with a wide range of professional football stakeholders, began the process of creating a long-term strategy to increase the number of NDRCs globally. Pilot projects are currently underway in Costa Rica, Malaysia, Indonesia and Slovakia with global implementation earmarked for 2018.

Other Club Professionalisation programmes
The Professional Football Department also offers programmes to support the professionalisation of clubs and leagues at the domestic level.

The services include assistance with setting up leagues and advice on strategic planning, commercialisation, marketing and communication programmes, sponsorship and TV deals as well as education support for league officials.

To fully maximise the potential of these services and programmes, the PFD is able to draw on its unique position to access the wealth of knowledge available in global professional football and facilitate its transfer and application to the local environment.

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