Players' body acts on contract and transfer reforms

The Professional Footballer's Association is discussing a wide range of player workplace issues with the Football Federation Australia, players' agents and players' commercial advisors. With a mandate from FIFPro to assist in the establishment of players' organisations throughout the Asian Football Confederation, many of the topics can be expected to be soon raised in Asia's football federations, associations and leagues.

Pertinant issues include the regulations and commercial terms for the Asian Champions League (regarding the contracting of players, prize money and any salary cap treatment), the reform of the activities of players' agents in England following the comprehensive review of agents activities in England by The Football Association; and the need for close communications between all professional football stakeholders and their representatives.

As a member of FIFPro the PFA is in agreement with the world football body FIFA's commitment to social dialogue throughout the football world and the concept of parity in the constitution of football’s arbitral bodies. The minimum requirements for contracts for European footballers agreed between FIFPro and UEFA and referred to in the December Memorandum of Understanding between FIFA and FIFPro are likely to be widely distributed and discussed in Asia.

In Australia, the PFA is focussed on securing a new collective bargaining agreement with Football Federation Australia for the Socceroos and to introduce one for the A-League's third season. FFA is believed to have "agreed to open negotiations in March."

Matters the PFA believes should be covered by such an agreement includes

• injury payments;
• insurance for players from loss of football earnings, both from causes within and beyond the game;
• clauses in the standard player contract that seek to limit or exclude the liability of FFA or a club to a player, and prevent the player from seeking redress in court;
• security for player payments in the event of a change in the ownership or licensing arrangements between FFA and a club;
• the terms of the contract regarding the national team commitments of players, which go beyond the FIFA Regulations;
• minimum wage and minimum match payment;
• clubs being free to offer “training contracts” to players which are beyond the scope of the regulations;
• regulatory requirements of FFA, including the “ridiculous” regulations regarding the position of players to be replaced;
• short-term contracts, their compliance with FIFA regulations and their relationship with transfer windows;
• code of conduct;
• image rights; and
• if a second tier is to be established, the terms of employment of players and the governing regulatory framework.

The PFA also believes the Australian operation of the transfer system requires close review and is taking the issue up both with FFA and FIFA (through FIFPro). A key priority in the negotiations will be to secure adequate funding for the education, hardship and retirement programs for players.