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SBD Global/December 18, 2013/International Football

FIFPro Demands Radical Overhaul Of Football Transfer System

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FIFPro "has demanded a radical overhaul" of football’s transfer system and "is ready to take legal measures to get its way," according to Brian Homewood of REUTERS. FIFPro President Phillipe Piat said, "The transfer system fails 99 percent of players around the world, it fails football as an industry and it fails the world’s most beloved game. FIFPro will not stand by and watch from the sidelines as players’ rights around the world are systemically disrespected and the football industry dismantles itself." The union said that "it would take its recommendations and complaints to the European Commission, the European Court of Justice and human rights courts if necessary." FIFPro complained that transfer regulations "impeded the freedom to move clubs for footballers." FIFPro said footballers "faced the threat of sanctions." FIFPro: "Exorbitant compensation for breaches of contract is imposed on players, unimaginable in any other industry" (REUTERS, 12/17). In London, Oliver Kay wrote that FIFPro is "expected to propose that a player be allowed to accept a contract with another club provided that their own club are compensated with a fee, which would be determined by a predefined system (LONDON TIMES, 12/18).

SPARKING A 'REVOLUTION': The London TELEGRAPH reported if successful, a challenge "would trigger a revolution in the way players are still bought and sold." Free transfers of players in many of the top leagues "remain rare events but Fifpro are determined to make it easier for players to move clubs in a similar way that other workers can move from one firm to another." The challenge "is likely to be fiercely opposed by the clubs." FIFPro claimed 28% of all the money from transfer fees "ends up in the pockets of agents and that many players are not paid on time, or even at all" (TELEGRAPH, 12/17). ESPN reported the union "believes a high number of footballers are not paid on time and that this has contributed to a rise in criminality in the game, amid a number of match-fixing allegations across Europe." FIFPro Division Europe President Bobby Barnes said, "Despite football enjoying record amounts of revenue, football’s regulatory and economic system fails miserably on numerous fronts and drives the professional game towards self-destruction" (ESPN, 12/17).
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