Changing the game: Dissecting the landmark reforms endorsed by the FIFA Football Stakeholders Committee

Published 05 October 2018 By: Tiran Gunawardena

Goalkeeper holding football

On 25 September 2018, the FIFA Football Stakeholders Committee (FSCapproved a landmark reform package of the football transfer system[1]. Representatives from the European Club Association (ECA), World Leagues Forum (representing leagues), FIFPro (representing players) as well as member associations, confederations and the FIFA administration approved in principle a set of recommendations aimed at increasing the transparency of the transfer system, protecting its integrity and reinforcing solidarity mechanisms for training clubs (the Recommendations). The Recommendations will be submitted to the FIFA Council for approval at its next meeting on 26 October 2018.  

The Recommendations were a result of months of discussions, investigations and negotiations by the FSC. Part of the considerations undertaken by the FSC – particularly in respect of intermediaries - were the findings of the project, ‘Promoting and Supporting Good Governance in the European Football Agents Industry’,[2]by Professor Richard Parrish, Dr. Andrea Cattaneo, Professor Johan Lindholm, Professor Jürgen Mittag, Professor Carmen Pérez-González and Professor Vanja Smokvina (the Project). In August 2018, the Project published an interim report of their findings on the football agents industry, a copy of which can be found here.

On 27 September 2018, the Project partners held a roundtable discussion event in London attended by representatives of the members of the FSC, as well as various other actors in the football industry (including the author), to discuss the findings in the Project’s interim report as well as the Recommendations (the Project Event).  

This article provides a summary of the key points arising out of the discussions at the Project Event, including:

  • An analysis of the Recommendations, including some background to the Recommendations and a consideration of its potential consequences; 

  • A consideration of the potential problems with the Recommendations; and

  • A brief overview of the reaction to the changes by various football stakeholders, and the next steps.

 

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Tiran Gunawardena

Tiran Gunawardena

Tiran Gunawardena is a Senior Associate (Australian Qualified) in the London sports law team at Mills & Reeve LLP.

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