FIFA reaches agreement to help unpaid players

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ZURICH (Reuters) – FIFA has reached an agreement that will help players leave their clubs when they do not get paid on time.

“It was an issue that was stewing for a long, long time and they couldn’t come to an agreement, but because of our impetus they’ve reached one,” Victor Montagliani, head of FIFA’s stakeholders committee, told reporters on Thursday.

“We all like to get paid…it’s an employment labour issue and to me that’s very important.”

Montagliani said the agreement also involved the European Club Association (ECA), the world players’ union FIFPro and the World Leagues Forum, which represents major domestic soccer leagues.

FIFA said that, in return, FIFPro had agreed to withdraw a legal complaint it made at the European Commission against the transfer system two years ago.

“We’ve had constructive talks with FIFA, but it’s premature to discuss what might happen next regarding our legal complaint against the transfer system, or any prospective deal until we are satisfied with the proposals put forth,” FIFPro said in a statement.

FIFPro says players can only make a complaint against their club after three months without being paid and can wait for up to two years for a decision from FIFA’s dispute resolution chamber.

The new agreement would make it much easier for a player who has not been paid his wages to leave a club, FIFA said, although it could not give precise details until the agreement is finalised, which is likely by March.

FIFPro’s complaint at the European Commission two years ago was based on the argument that the transfer system was uncompetitive and unjustified.

The transfer system is governed by FIFA statutes and is based on an informal agreement between FIFA, UEFA and the EC in 2001.

In a survey conducted last year among 14,000 players in 54 countries, FIFpro found that four in 10 had experienced late payment at some stage in the previous two years.