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FIFPRO and European Leagues call for greater player representation in football’s governance structures

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International Federation of Professional Footballers (FIFPRO) and European Leagues have agreed to a new manifesto which calls to embed collective governance standards throughout professional football.

Representatives of leagues, player unions and fan groups met at the FIFPRO Policy Forum 2021 in Brussels to sign the document.

The manifesto calls for an adequate representation of leagues and player unions in governance structures to agree on matters directly impacting their members at a domestic and global level.

It also states that all stakeholders – including professional clubs, National Federations and fans – share a joint responsibility for collective governance structures and should have appropriate involvement, representation and influence in football’s governance model.

“It is time for the governance of football at international level to get inspired and modelled by the well-functioning governance mechanisms already existing in the most sustainable football markets at domestic level,” said Jacco Swart, managing director of European Leagues, a group representing 37 professional football leagues on the continent.

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“Here leagues, clubs and unions debate, cooperate but also find agreements – whether collectively or bilaterally – with their respective national association to allow our industry to flourish for the benefit of all stakeholders involved, including football fans.”

It is hoped that the manifesto will open the way for fair and balanced outcomes, with all stakeholders having proportional influence in decision-making.

It has also been launched at a time when the global football calendar could be altered significantly, with plans afoot to change men’s and women’s FIFA World Cups to a two-year cycle.

“At a time of imminent changes that may change football profoundly, the game desperately needs and deserves fair and inclusive governance,” said FIFPRO general secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffmann.

“We will work closely with European Leagues to build a more sustainable game by following the principles of this manifesto.

“These principles also need urgent reflection by other stakeholders in order to contribute to a governance system which establishes shared ownership and stewardship of football.”

FIFPRO has 31 affiliated European national player unions.

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