International football players' union meets in Dublin to discuss transfer system challenge

FIFPro members begin two-day talks before a visit to Aras an Uachtarain tomorrow.

Secretary general of FIFPro Theo Van Seggelen.
Secretary general of FIFPro Theo Van Seggelen.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

FIFPRO, THE INTERNATIONAL football players’ union, meets in Dublin today for the start of its General Assembly with an overhaul of the current transfer system top of the agenda.

Over 70 guests from 29 European countries have gathered in the capital ahead of the two-day discussions at the Westin Hotel where the World Footballers’ Association will give a progress report on plans to hand players greater legal protection in relation to transfers.

“We are energised by the response from our member unions worldwide, and cautiously optimistic that the law is on our side,” said FIFPro Secretary-General Theo van Seggelen.

“We have an enormous opportunity, together with all stakeholders, to fundamentally improve the game.”

The famous Bosman ruling of 1995 gave players greater freedom but FIFPro argues that the current transfer system “fails 99% of players around the world” and says it hopes to:

  • Safeguard the workers’, social and fundamental rights of professional footballers as well as their fundamental economic freedoms
  • Create a balance of powers between employers and employees on the football labour market
  • Improve the sustainability, economic and competitive balance of the football industry through new regulatory mechanisms targeting the product market
  • Improve football’s governance of labour relations through improved working standards and access to impartial arbitration or labour courts
  • Eliminate harmful and counter-productive restraints of trade
  • Eliminate ineffective and unsustainable financial practices such as inflated agent fees and third-party ownership

Also up for discussion is the new regulations for the governing of agents and FIFPro’s match-fixing prevention campaign.

The visit concludes tomorrow when President Michael D Higgins hosts a group of FIFPro representatives at Aras an Uachtarain.

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