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Analysis of FIFA’s 2021 Regulatory Changes – Female Players, Coaches, Brexit And More

Analysis of FIFA’s 2021 Regulatory Changes – Female Players, Coaches, Brexit And More
Tuesday, 19 January 2021 By Tiran Gunawardena, Rustam Sethna

On 19 November 2020, the FIFA Football Stakeholders Committee (FSC) endorsed reforms[1] to the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (RSTP) which sought to afford greater protection to female players and football coaches. These reforms were subject to the final approval of the FIFA Council.

On 4 December 2020, the FIFA Council approved these reforms[2], along with other important changes to the RSTP and the Rules Governing the Procedures of the Players’ Status Committee and the Dispute Resolution Chamber (Procedural Rules).  On 14 December 2020, FIFA issued a circular notifying these changes[3] to all member associations, confirming that they would take effect from 1 January 2020.

This article provides an overview of the changes and their likely impact, examining:

  1. Specific rules to protect professional female players;
  2. The new regulatory framework for coaches;
  3. The new exception for the international transfer of minors in the context of Brexit
  4. Other changes to the RSTP and Procedural Rules that have taken effect from 1 January 2021.

The new 2021 RSTP and Procedural Rules are available here and here.

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Written by

Tiran Gunawardena

Tiran Gunawardena

Tiran Gunawardena is a Principal Associate (Australian Qualified) in the London sports law team at Mills & Reeve LLP. Tiran was selected by Who’s Who Legal: Sports and Entertainment as a leading sports lawyer in the UK in 2020, 2019 and 2018. Tiran is a regulatory sports lawyer specialising in international and domestic sports arbitration, with significant experience with proceedings before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and regulatory matters in sport. He is dual qualified as an Australian solicitor and chartered accountant, and holds a Master in International Sports Law from ISDE (Madrid). Tiran is on the Arbitral Board and Disciplinary Committee of the UCI, and is on the Formula One Cost Cap Adjudication Panel. Tiran is also an England Boxing and British Gymnastics Disciplinary Panel member. Prior to working at Mills & Reeve, Tiran spent almost 4 years working in the Corporate Tax and M&A team at PwC Sydney.

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Rustam Sethna

Rustam Sethna

Rustam is an Associate on the sports law team at Mills & Reeve LLP, focusing on sports disputes and regulatory matters. He holds a master’s in International Sports Law from ISDE (Madrid) and is also a member of the Disciplinary Panel at England Boxing and the Anti-Doping Committee at the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation.

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