The International Federation of Professional Footballers, known globally as FIFPro, is set to launch a massive legal challenge against the current transfer system set up by world governing body FIFA, ESPN reports. The world players’ union has a strategic plan in place to fight for players’ rights to move clubs freely in accordance with European Union law, and is set to take its complaints to the European Commission, the European Court of Justice and human rights courts.
In particular, FIFPro believes that players are not granted the same rights as other EU workers. For instance, the union says that players are unduly punished when looking to escape from contracts, and the fees they are charged for breaches of contract are unimaginably high compared to any other industry.
FIFPro president Philippe Piat believes the transfer system is the root cause of the injustices pervading the global game. “The transfer system fails 99 percent of players around the world, it fails football as an industry and it fails the world’s most beloved game,” he said. “Football’s governing bodies, clubs and leagues claim the transfer system is necessary to ensure competitive balance, whereby in fact it creates a spiral of economic and sporting imbalance, which only benefits the richest one percent of clubs and player agents.”
FIFPro Division Europe president Bobby Barnes agreed, warning that the existing transfer system could drive the game toward self-destruction. “Thousands of players worldwide are not paid on time, or not at all, while 28 percent of the global transfer market (an estimated $750 million annually) is paid to agents and lost to the game. Something is not right with this picture,” he said, adding: “Unpaid players are vulnerable targets of crime syndicates, who instigate match-fixing and threaten the very existence of credible football competitions.”