Report calls on member states to recognise FIFA’s competence to regulate football transfer system; Document also highlights importance of new regulations on agents; Report fully supports FIFA’s project to set up Safe Sport Entity to deal with cases of abuse in sport.
The Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has today adopted the “Football governance: business and values” report, prepared by Lord George Foulkes of Cumnock UK MP, which hails FIFA’s ongoing transfer system reform.
The report “calls on the Council of Europe member states to recognise FIFA’s competence to regulate at global level the football transfer system, including the adoption of rules seeking to ensure protection of minors, the transparency of financial flows linked to transfers and a sound framework for the access to and exercise of the profession of agent or intermediary”.
In its draft resolution, the report states that “the Assembly attaches great importance to the reform of the transfer system – including new regulations on agents – undertaken by FIFA in co-operation with other stakeholders, and is convinced that the main objectives underlying this reform are justified”.
Specifically in relation to agents, the document “stresses the importance of ensuring the transparency of all financial flows related to international transfers and calls on FIFA and other stakeholders to agree that not only commissions but also all agents’ services fees related to international transfers should gradually be processed through the clearing house system and that agents and their activity should be subject to compliance assessment procedures”.
The report also highlights the importance of prohibiting “excesses” and capping “agent fees by establishing a maximum percentage of the gross transfer price and/or wages that these fees may not exceed and an absolute limit on the total sums that may be paid to the agent of the releasing club for a transaction”.
In his explanatory memorandum, Lord Foulkes comments that “at the centre of transfer transactions are the agents who, working on all sides of the table but primarily for the cartel of big clubs, siphon hundreds of millions of euros, dollars or pounds into their own pockets as top clubs look to protect their profiles by monopolising the market for starlets and proven superstars alike”.
Since 2017, and in line with the FIFA President’s blueprint The Vision 2020-2023: Making Football Truly Global, FIFA has taken major steps towards the establishment of a fairer and more transparent transfer system, with the FIFA Council endorsing three reform packages.
Labour reforms, human rights and safeguarding
FIFA takes note of the calls for further efforts to safeguard minors, promote women in sport and protect human rights.
The draft resolution commends the efforts of FIFA which played a role in getting the labour law reform process under way in Qatar and the work of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the international trade union movement and non-governmental organisations operating in Qatar”.
In line with FIFA’s current bidding processes, the report also highlights the need to apply stringent human rights requirements that all countries bidding to host major football competitions must respect. It equally supports the establishment of an independent Safe Sport Entity to handle cases of abuse in sport, on which FIFA is currently making steady progress. An extensive consultation process has recently concluded, with more than 230 stakeholders providing their expert feedback and evidence globally with clear recommendations for action.
The PACE Plenary is expected to vote on the report at its session in late-January 2022.