FIFPro has entered into new talks with European football's governing body UEFA to address a broad range of issues of mutual interest, including effective governance, the structure of professional football, the potential impact of revamped club and international competitions, and the implementation of minimum contractual requirements for players across the continent.
Newly-elected UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin received his FIFPro Division Europe counterpart Bobby Barnes at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, this week, in a positive exchange that sets the tone for a collaboration FIFPro hopes will lead to important outcomes in protecting the general welfare of players.
One instrument created to help secure basic standards in player contracts is the Autonomous Agreement, established in 2012. Approved by European social dialogue partners FIFPro Division Europe, UEFA, the ECA (European Clubs Association) and the EPFL (European Professional Football Leagues), this agreement aims to protect fundamental aspects of the employment relationship between a professional footballer and his club.
“We had a productive meeting,” Barnes said. "This is a new opportunity to reinforce our efforts to ensure the Autonomous Agreement is implemented. We're determined to address general working conditions in Europe, backed by the findings in FIFPro’s Global Employment Report.”
Of the more than 7,200 European-based players surveyed by FIFPro in 2016, 35% reported payment delays from their clubs in the last two seasons.
Barnes added, “Together with UEFA, we can target countries in need of support to guarantee minimum standards, reduce the problem of overdue payables, and continue to grow the overall quality of the sport.”
“In this transitional period, with new leadership at UEFA, as well as the challenges presented by the shifting political landscape in the European Union, all stakeholders need to find modern solutions together to ensure professional football and its players are adequately protected.”
Ceferin stated, "It was a pleasure meeting with Bobby Barnes in Nyon. The president of FIFPro Europe and I had a productive conversation regarding the rights and needs of players in Europe."
"I am aware of some of the challenges that FIFPro face and I am committed to continuing a dialogue with them in order to find solutions that can benefit football on our continent,” the UEFA President concluded.
Talks are set to continue with the General Secretaries of FIFPro and UEFA, Theo van Seggelen and Theodore Theodoridis, scheduled to meet on Thursday (February 23) at FIFPro House in the Netherlands.
- Published: 22 February 2017