Published in World Sports Advocate, Friday 18th November 2016
The opening panel session at the Player Contracts Conference in October, organised by World Sports Advocate, provided a useful insight into the views of stakeholders and practitioners on the question of whether the current football transfer system, introduced by FIFA some 15 years ago, requires reform. The panel comprised senior representatives from the World Players’ Union, FIFPro, the European Professional Football Leagues (‘EPFL’) and the European Club Association (‘ECA’) as well as lawyers acting for clubs, players and intermediaries. Matthew Bennett, Partner at Centrefield LLP, who was a member of the Panel, provides an overview of FIFPro’s complaint to the EU Commission and a detailed analysis of the discussion had at Player Contracts.
It was perhaps of no surprise that FIFPro’s Legal Director, Wil van Megen, re-iterated FIFPro’s view that the transfer system must be changed – indeed, there was a clue to FIFPro’s position in the title of Mr van Megen’s presentation: ‘Why the transfer system fails.’ In his presentation Mr van Megen made reference to the formal complaint that FIFPro lodged with the European Commission in 2015 into the transfer system.