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Football Stakeholders Committee agrees on key principles pertaining to thir...

14 May 2021

The FIFA Football Stakeholders Committee (FSC), chaired by Victor Montagliani, took further steps in the reform of the transfer system by endorsing key measures included in the third reform package during its meeting held by videoconference today.

Following a series of meetings with stakeholders from the professional game that took place from February to April 2021 and the subsequent agreement of objectives by the Task Force Transfer System, the FSC today confirmed a number of general principles:

General principles of the third reform package approved by the FSC

1) International transfer of minors

Humanitarian exception: to examine the humanitarian exception in article 19 of the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (RSTP) and whether it could be applied more flexibly or modernised to reflect “real-life” cases that are rejected.

Trials: to explore a regulatory framework for trials in order to provide legal certainty and protect minors (and all footballers) from exploitation.

Private academies: to explore the possibility of reviewing and modernising the regulation of private academies (currently covered by article 19bis of the RSTP) operating outside the scope of organised football.

Safeguarding: to explore the possibility and feasibility of minimum protection standards for minors who transfer internationally.

2) Squad sizes (loans)

To combat the hoarding of players, stakeholders agreed on new loan rules in February 2020. However, the introduction of these rules was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The FSC agreed on the implementation of the new loan rules as of 1 July 2022.

3) Registration periods (transfer windows)

Flexible application of time allocation to registration periods: flexibility to be allowed regarding the time allocated to registration periods each season.

Association football calendar: redefinition of the correlation between the: (i) season start date; (ii) national (league) competition start date; and (iii) opening and closing of the first registration period of a season.

End of registration periods: to explore more possibilities for unemployed players to be registered outside registration periods.

4) Financial regulation

Financial governance guidelines: to explore the possibility of recommending global financial governance guidelines to incentivise financial sustainability and stability, minimum club governance measures and the transparency of financial flows within the football transfer system.

Financial consequences in cases of breach of contract: to explore whether the financial consequences determined in article 17 of the RSTP provide sufficient protection for the achievement of the objectives of the football transfer system.

5) Other regulatory matters

Respect of collective bargaining agreements (CBAs): it was agreed to examine the primacy of CBAs (where referencing labour matters) that have been validly negotiated by employer and employee representatives at domestic level in accordance with national law, in the context of the RSTP.

Sporting just cause: assessment of article 15 of the RSTP, which permits a player to terminate a contract with “sporting just cause”, and, in particular, whether it continues to fulfil its original purpose.

Registration: examination of the regulatory framework governing registration, with the aim of providing legal certainty and transparency on several elements.

Furthermore, at today’s meeting, the FSC discussed the proposed “Guidelines for the recognition of the competence of top-end coaches between confederations”.

The guidelines have been created by an expert panel composed of specialists from all confederations in order to establish a compact, transparent, objective and non-discriminatory framework for the recognition of the competence of top-end coaches across confederations. The ultimate objective is to reach a mutual agreement between confederations for automatic cross-confederation recognition of coach licences.

The principles of the third reform package as well as the proposed “Guidelines for the recognition of the competence of top-end coaches between confederations” have now been submitted to the FIFA Council for its approval at its meeting on 20 May 2021.

This was the last meeting of the FSC in its current composition. Since its first meeting, held in March 2017, the FSC has made major headway towards the establishment of a fairer and more transparent transfer system, with the FIFA Council endorsing the first and second reform packages in October 2018 and October 2019 respectively.

Further details on the achievements of the FSC since 2017 are available here.

FIFA Fund for Football Players: Over 1,000 applications approved

12 May 2021

Following the landmark agreement reached by FIFA and FIFPRO in 2020 to establish the FIFA Fund for Football Players (FIFA FFP), which provides financial support to players who have not been paid and have no chance of duly receiving the wages agreed with their clubs, a total of 1,005 applications have recently been approved by the joint Steering Committee. As a result, 1,005 players from around the world will receive financial relief thanks to the grants that will be issued in the first phase of the fund.

The approved applications covered the period between July 2015 and June 2020 and concerned 109 clubs from 36 member associations that have either disappeared as a result of an insolvency-related process, disaffiliated from their member association, or stopped participating in professional football.

FIFA has set aside USD 16 million for the fund up to the end of 2022, to be divided up as follows:

  • 1 July 2015 – 30 June 2020: USD 5 million
  • 1 July 2020 – 31 December 2020: USD 3 million
  • 1 January 2021 – 31 December 2021: USD 4 million
  • 1 January 2022 – 31 December 2022: USD 4 million

In accordance with the Protocol Governing the FIFA Fund for Football Players, all applications are evaluated by the joint Steering Committee composed of FIFA and FIFPRO representatives. Applications relating to the second period, covering 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2020, will be processed in the coming months.

“The FIFA Fund for Football Players is a landmark mechanism designed to protect football’s main protagonists, the players. Thanks to this novel initiative and the recent conclusion of its first cycle of applications, 1,005 players will receive much-needed financial support during trying times. FIFA stands committed to maintaining this important collaboration with FIFPRO to ensure that all forthcoming application periods are administered and processed successfully towards 2022,” said Emilio García Silvero, FIFA Chief Legal & Compliance Officer.

“The FIFA Fund for Football Players is a very important support system for many players who were not paid due to their club disappearing. We are pleased that, because of the collaboration between FIFA and FIFPRO, they and their families will benefit by receiving at least a portion of the wages owed to them. At the same time, we are conscious that this only partially solves what is a much wider systemic issue. Players have filed claims with us totalling more than USD 60 million. With this in mind, we call on all football institutions around the world to follow FIFA’s example by implementing similar protection schemes in their territories,” commented Roy Vermeer, FIFPRO Legal Director.

Further details on the applications relating to the first period are available in the following report.

FIFA Global Integrity Programme: CONMEBOL workshop concludes

05 May 2021

FIFA today concluded the second series of virtual workshops within its Global Integrity Programme, which is being implemented in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

This edition of the programme saw integrity officers and anti-corruption experts from CONMEBOL’s ten member associations gather for three modules to discuss key matters, including the regulatory framework, prevention and education, and investigations. The sessions also featured dedicated round tables with the participation of government anti-corruption officials from several South American countries.

In line with FIFA’s overall vision of making football truly global, as well as its ongoing commitment to protecting and promoting the integrity of the game, the FIFA Global Integrity Programme is designed to improve education and build integrity capacity within all 211 member associations by sharing advanced know-how and resources with integrity officers. The programme also reflects the UNODC’s objective of supporting governments and sports organisations in their efforts to safeguard sport from corruption and crime.

Following the CONMEBOL sessions, the programme is due to resume in August 2021 with the participation of Concacaf’s member associations.

As part of its ongoing integrity initiatives, FIFA signed a memorandum of understanding with the UNODC in September 2020 to step up their joint cooperation to address the threats posed by crime to sport.

For more information on the UNODC’s work on safeguarding sport from corruption and crime, please click HERE. For more information on the FIFA Global Integrity Programme and FIFA Integrity, please visit legal.fifa.com.