FIFA Transfer Regulations: Opinion of Advocate General


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  • The European Court of Justice is considering a complaint by a French player about a section of the FIFA transfer regulations

  • A preliminary written opinion of the court’s Advocate General says article 17 of the FIFA regulations hinders free movement

  • While a final ruling on the case is pending, FIFPRO and UNFP will continue to provide support for the player

FIFPRO, FIFPRO Europe and French player union UNFP welcome Advocate General Maciej Szpunar’s opinion in the complaint filed by a French player against a part of FIFA’s transfer regulations.

The player’s claim relates to article 17 and Annexe 3 of the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (RSTP) which hindered him from freely joining a new club after leaving Lokomotiv Moscow in 2014 following a dispute with the club’s management. Within the procedures at domestic level, the Court of Appeal in Mons, Belgium referred the matter to the European Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling on whether the relevant provisions of FIFA are compatible with EU law.

David Terrier, President FIFPRO Europe and global board member, said that “the opinion – which accurately captures the draconian consequences players can be subject to when they terminate their contract – understands the concerns that we have had for many years with article 17 of the FIFA RSTP as well as the International Transfer Certificate procedure, both having a deterrent and disproportionate effect on the movement of professional football players and their right to seek employment opportunities.”

Furthermore, the opinion underlines the importance of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union which includes provisions on the freedom to choose an occupation, the right to collectively bargain, and the right to fair and just working conditions.

For a long time, player unions affiliated to FIFPRO have held the view that collective bargaining and sectoral agreements between social partners are the way forward in establishing a proper and lawful framework for a wide variety of measures that affect the governance and regulation of employment related matters in the professional football industry. 

The European Court of Justice has not made a final decision on the case. FIFPRO, FIFPRO Europe and UNFP will continue to support the player in these proceedings.