As you line up for some of the biggest games of your career, FIFPRO, as your global representative, wants to acknowledge your performance throughout the challenging past season as well as your inspiring leadership. We are well aware of the intensity of the demands being placed on you, both physically and mentally, and yet your contribution within the football community and wider society continues to be far-reaching.
So many decisions are made which impact you and your career and the game we love and dedicate our working lives to: from the abandoned European Super League project, and the hosting of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar, to various decisions on competition venues and health protection at other global events. Though progress has been made on players rights at the biggest competitions, one thing is still clear: these decisions can no longer be made without you being front and center.
You play the game but you are also the ones facing the consequences of decisions taken without our voice. The face of the game is the players, not the administrators.
For the last four years, men and women players around the world have told us how the competition calendar does not adequately cater to, or even consider, their needs. Conditions in and around the game leave you mentally and physically exhausted.
We have negotiated protocols for health and safety protections during the pandemic, and yet in some of the current tournaments the local conditions leave many athletes with great concerns.
For years, players led a peaceful but vigorous charge for equality, compelling the industry to finally tackle discrimination with the required commitment, and yet today they are being discouraged not only by some fans, but also by governing bodies like the International Olympic Committee.
It’s time for change. It’s time for the collective of players – through their unions – to sit in their rightful position in the game. In the coming months we will negotiate on your behalf with FIFA and other stakeholders for you to have more say as we push for a fairer and more reasonable schedule, more equitable conditions and greater safeguards and protections on and off the pitch.
For us, the player voice is the most important one in the conversation. We count on your continued input, your leadership and your support. Your thoughts and ideas, your positions and convictions are always cherished at FIFPRO.
Finally, congratulations to those selected to perform on the world stage in the upcoming weeks and months. We know that, despite the challenges of the last 18 months, you will make yourselves and your countries proud. As always, you can rely on FIFPRO’s support. This is our commitment to you.
Jonas Baer-Hoffman, FIFPRO General Secretary