New football transfer system agreed in Brussels

EU reaches agreement with UEFA and FIFA on introduction of new rules governing transfer of football players

Background

The two governing bodies of football, UEFA and FIFA, reached an agreement with the European Commission on a new transfer system in Brussels on 5 March. The deal will introduce minimum (one year) and maximum (five year) contracts for players and a single transfer period each season. It will also provide compensation for smaller so-called 'training' clubs and a set of sanctions (both sporting and financial) for unilateral breaches of contract.

It has taken almost six months to reach an agreement after the European Commission began proceedings last year against the FIFA over the international transfer of players. Their argument was that it hampered the free movement of players thereby contravening one of the four freedoms of the internal market.

The agreement is due to come into effect upon its adoption by FIFA at a special conference in Buenos Aires on 5 July. However, the players' union Fifpro has criticised the agreement and there have been suggestions that they could take legal action at some point in the future.

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