FIFPro seeks to overhaul transfer system

Ian Watson
Theo van Seggelen FIFpro

Footballers’ union FIFPro has lodged a legal complaint against FIFA with the European Commission in the hope of overhauling the transfer system.

FIFPro believes the transfer market harms its members’ rights to move between clubs and it also thinks it is an unjust system which helps the bigger clubs stockpile players.

It has suggested abolishing transfer fees and replacing them with a bargaining system instead.

Theo van Seggelen, secretary general of FIFPro, told a press conference: “FIFPro has today filed a legal action against FIFA in the form of a competition law complaint lodged with the director general of the European Commission in Brussels, challenging the global transfer market system governed by FIFA regulations as being anti-competitive, unjustified and illegal.”

If the legal challenge is successful, FIFPro’s proposals could cause a serious change in the game, just as the Bosman ruling did 20 years ago.

The union feels that, as it stands, the transfer system breaches basic European Union competition law.

Players are being used as pawns in financial battles between major clubs, according to FIFPro.

“I have heard from many players who have extended their contracts for three years and then at the next transfer window, they are sold off to another club. How can this be the case?” FIFPro president Philippe Piat said.

“We are seeing that players are being turned into commodities. They are no longer human beings, and this is getting out of hand.

“There are some stars who are incredibly wealthy but then in small countries and small clubs there is almost slavery taking place.”

FIFPro argued drastic changes were needed, and played down suggestions the game could go into meltdown if the system was overhauled.

“We need not to fear football with the transfer system,” Van Seggelen added.

“We think that through collective bargaining, better labour market rules can be established, balanced fairly against the needs of clubs together with an improved model of revenue distribution.”