BRUSSELS: The international players’ union FIFPro is to ignore a delaying-tactic talks plea from Europe’s clubs and file an official complaint with the European Commission against FIFA’s administration of the transfer system writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
FIFA, the world governing body hardly in need of any further attacks right now, is the target of the FIFPro complaint.
FIFPro and, in particular, its French president Philippe Piat, have long argued that the system, through which players are bought and sold like branded goods, contravened both human rights and European law.
The system, as it works now, was refined in negotiations between the European Commission and world federation FIFA in the wake of the Bosman verdict of December 1995 which threw open Europe’s football borders.
FIFPro, which represents 65,000 players, claims that the system infringes European law because it fails to deliver contractual stability and us to blame for an imbalance of football competition, third-party ownership of players and the trafficking of minors.
Theo van Seggelen, secretary-general of FIFPro, said: “Players, especially young players, need more protection, there must be a better distribution of transfer monies to help small clubs and we must reduce the number of restrictions. The system needs to change.”
One of the greatest concerns of FIFPro is the failure of many clubs to pay players on time. FIFPro complains that this makes players, particularly in smaller and lower leagues, vulnerable to temptation from match fixers.
Van Seggelen said: “In that case, if a player breaks his contract to look for a new club then it can take three or four years before he gets his money.
“We think it should be a fundamental right of players to receive their salaries. We have tried in good faith to reach a solution within the football family but it has not been possible. We now have no choice but to go to the European Commission.”
Earlier this month Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, chairman of the 200-strong European Club Association, appealed for FIFPro to engage in further discussions through the European football strategy council which was set up by UEFA and is chaired by its president, Michel Platini.
However FIFPro has grown impatient with a lack of progress. Hence the decision to go to the European Commission.
Van Seggelen denied that FIFPro was intent on scrapping the transfer system altogether. He said: “We are not trying to blow up the transfer system. We want to bring balance between the rights of players and clubs.”
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