The relationship between UEFA and the players' union FIFPro Division Europe has been reinforced by the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding between the two bodies at the recent XXXVI Ordinary UEFA Congress in Istanbul.
The memorandum, signed by UEFA President Michel Platini and FIFPro Division Europe President Philippe Piat, was one of three updated agreements that have been put in place with the objective of bringing stability and harmony within the European football family. New memorandums of understanding were also signed in Istanbul between UEFA and the European Club Association (ECA), and UEFA and the association of European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL).
In the memorandum, FIFPro recognises UEFA as the governing body of European football at all levels, while UEFA recognises FIFPro Division Europe as the continent's only umbrella organisation of trade unions for professional football players, and the sole representative of professional players' interests at European level.
FIFPro is the worldwide representative organisation for all professional players, and represents more than 50,000 footballers in total. Its European division consists of 24 member unions. FIFPro Division Europe also represents the players within the Professional Football Strategy Council (PFSC) in which matters of importance for European professional football are discussed alongside UEFA, the ECA, representing the clubs, and the EPFL, representing the leagues.
Co-operation between UEFA and FIFPro Division Europe is based on key values such as solidarity, respect and equality which have underpinned the development of professional football in Europe. The agreement also emphasises the need to preserve sporting values and the rights of players to be respected. In addition, it is stipulated that national-team football provides an essential balance to club football and that rules governing the release of players should be respected.
Financial fair play is another cornerstone of this agreement, and is identified by both organisations as a necessary step to improve the financial situation in European football. The integrity of the game is essential to both organisations which therefore commit themselves to the promotion of fair play and the fight against racism, doping, violence, match-fixing and corruption in football.
Furthermore, FIFPro and UEFA also recognise the autonomy of football governing bodies and the need for disputes to be resolved within football in appropriate sports dispute resolution structures.
One of the other main decisions taken at UEFA's Istanbul Congress included the approval of minimum contractual requirements for players' contracts (the so-called Autonomous Agreement) as a consequence of the European social dialogue bringing together representatives of the employers and of the employees. Such requirements should be enforced in the territories of all UEFA member associations within a period of three years.
The agreement was made by the ECA, the EPFL and the FIFPro Division Europe decision-making bodies and an official signing ceremony took place in Brussels in April. In the agreement between FIFPro and UEFA, it is underlined that social dialogue should be promoted, supported and developed.
Without the players, football cannot exist and the new memorandum with FIFPro Division Europe provides a positive step forward in the quest for stability and solutions to the various challenges facing European professional football.
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