FIFPro has received the unanimous support of its European members to pursue all legal means necessary in a bid to restore the basic rights of players impeded by football's fundamentally flawed player transfer system.
The World Footballers' Association believes it is left with no other alternative after player union representatives attending this week's meeting of FIFPro Division Europe, in Athens, reacted with astonishment to proposals for the amendment of the FIFA transfer regulations put forth by the ECA (European Clubs' Association) and EPFL (European Professional Football Leagues).
Negotiations to reform the transfer system ground to a halt last Friday after representatives from the clubs and leagues rejected FIFPro's reasonable demands to protect players who are not paid on time or have their contracts unjustly terminated.
FIFPro Division Europe President, Bobby Barnes, said: "The basic right of players to be paid according to the terms laid out in their contract is non-negotiable."
"We entered into these negotiations in good faith and always remained committed to find a negotiated solution, but this has unfortunately not been met with reciprocity."
"The position brought forward by the employers is so imbalanced, as to be considered antagonistic."
"This meeting highlights that our patience to find solutions has been exhausted and the European members are united in their belief that more forceful action seems inevitable," Barnes concluded.
In Athens, a gathering of 29 player associations that make up FIFPro Division Europe voted unanimously to cease all negotiations, until the central principles to protect the players' rights under their contract are accepted by the employers.
FIFPro Secretary-General Theo van Seggelen said: "What the clubs and leagues propose would create an even greater imbalance than what already exists between the players and their employers."
"It is irresponsible behaviour by the ECA and EPFL who are trying to manipulate a situation which already favours them in the extreme."
"Since we're incapable of striking a fair balance, no matter how reasonable FIFPro has proven itself to be throughout this process, we should let the courts decide."
Negotiations have been suspended indefinitely. FIFPro had sought to rectify one of the biggest problems in professional football, which is a lack of respect by clubs for their contractual obligations to players.
FIFPro submitted four key proposals (listed below) designed to ensure contractual stability, which the ECA and EPFL failed to accept in the latest round of talks which took place last Friday at FIFA headquarters in Zurich.
- That a player who is unpaid for more than 30 days can elect to terminate his contract if he has given his club at at least 10 days written notice to pay what is owed
- That if a player contract is terminated by a club without just cause or by the player for non-payment, the player will be entitled to be financially compensated by having the contract paid out by the club
- That such a player be able to find work without restriction including outside of any transfer window
- The reforms apply both internationally and domestically.
The General Assembly of FIFPro Division Europe, having dissected the issue during the past two days of meetings in Athens, has approved the pursuit of all legal avenues available, including legal complaints to the European Commission.
- Published: 30 January 2015