By Frans de Weger Legal Counsel FBO The Netherlands
Although the biggest changes are yet to come (and expected later this year) as a result of the landmark settlement between FIFPro and FIFA, which was announced on 6 November 2017 and is summarised below, two new amendments to the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (RSTP) have already come into force on 1 January 2018.
One of the amendments to the RSTP also relates to the new Rules Governing the Procedures of the Players’ Status Committee and the Dispute Resolution Chamber (Procedural Rules), which also came into force on 1 January 2018.
These amendments will now be highlighted.
It is now explicitly laid down in the RSTP, more specifically in article 20, which relates to training compensation, that the principles of training compensation do not apply to women’s football.
As follows from FIFA Circular no. 1603, dated 24 November 2017, the relevant specification does not mean a change as to the substance of the matter as it is fully in line with earlier decisions of the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC).
In these decisions the DRC had decided that the concept of training compensation is not applicable to women’s football since women’s football shows a scenario completely different to men’s football. In the eyes of FIFA, and as was also noted in Circular no. 1603, the existing training compensation formula would act as a deterrent to the movement of female players and consequently stall the development of the women’s game. It seems, as was also announced in Circular no. 1603, that the FIFA administration is now working on a specific concept, in order to be applied to the women’s game in consultation with the various stakeholders, bearing in mind the overall objective to promote and enhance the development of women’s (professional) football.
The second amendment to the RSTP is in connection with amendments to the Procedural Rules, which also came into force on 1 January 2018.
As from 1 January 2018, the communications with the parties in the proceedings before the Players’ Status Committee (PSC) and the DRC shall be conducted by e-mail (and not by fax, which transmissions will not have any legal effect anymore). Article 4 and 5 of Annex 3 of the RSTP have now been amended in this regard and brought in line with the new Article 9bis of the Procedural Rules. Submissions transmitted by e-mail shall now be addressed to the following e-mail address: email@example.com. Please note that transmissions may also (and still) be transmitted by regular mail or courier.
In pending proceedings, parties have received communications from FIFA and were requested to provide FIFA in these proceedings with their updated contact details, including an email address. In order to avoid any misunderstanding, the amendments in relation to this new form of communication per e-mail will apply to all proceedings before FIFA, irrespective of the date on which the petition was received, as also follows from the Procedural Rules.
As mentioned above, following the landmark settlement between FIFPro and FIFA, more substantive changes to the RSTP are expected later this year.
According to the FIFA website (www.fifa.com), FIFA and FIFPro have concluded an extensive six-year cooperation agreement to strengthen relationships between the two organisations and improve the governance of professional football worldwide.
An agreement has been reached between FIFA, FIFPro, the European Club Association and the World Leagues Forum under the umbrella of FIFA’s newly formed Football Stakeholders Committee, which includes confederations, member associations and professional football stakeholders. The new rules will relate to dispute resolution between players and clubs, especially for decisions in cases of overdue payables. The future changes will also introduce a new provision to avoid the abusive conduct of parties, such as players being forced to train alone.
In view of the above, it must be added that FIFA has also welcomed recommendations that were made for further, more specific research, on the transfer system. The transfer system will be further improved.
In fact, the FIFA Football Stakeholders Committee has already agreed to establish a task force in order to study and conduct a broader review of the transfer system. Again, according to the FIFA website, joint initiatives include the continued rollout of club licensing; international match calendar; human rights matters; the growth of professional women’s football; the establishment of national dispute resolution chambers; and minimum contract requirements with all stakeholders at global level will also be explored.
Watch this space!