MFPA officials attend FIFPro General Assembly in Slovenia

mfpa-in-ljubljana2013For the second time representatives of the Malta Football Players Association, Carlo Mamo and Konrad Sultana, attended the FIFPro General Assembly. This year the FIFPro General Assembly was held between the 21st and the 24th October at Grand Union Hotel in Ljubljana, capital city of Slovenia.

Representatives from over sixty countries from all continents attended this annual event organised by FIFPro.

Six countries were accepted as full members, Ecuador (AFE), Ghana (PFAG), Malaysia (PFAM), Namibia (NAFPU), Paraguay (FAP) and Zimbabwe (FUZ). Together with Malta (MFPA), another two countries were given a candidate status – Guatemala (AFG) and Venezuela (AUFPV).

The FIFPro family now consists of a total fifty-five full members, three candidate members and seven observers (Botswana, China, Georgia, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, Korea and Tunisia). FIFPro also awarded the Palestinian Professional Players Association (PPPA) a special membership status.

This was a special event for the MFPA since the local players association has been awarded a Candidate Member status. This is quite an achievement for the MFPA reaching a Candidate Member status after just over 2 years. Also, the MFPA received very good comments and feedback form the FIFPro executive committee, and during the meeting the local players’ representatives were given the Candidate Members certificate, and the right to vote for the FIFPro board members.

On the first day, the Slovenian Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek addressed the Congress.

Various topics were discussed during this General Assembly including the players’ health and safety in Brazil 2014 and Qatar 2022. The FIFA FIFPro XI voting and award ceremony. Another topic discussed was the problem of match fixing and the FIFPro campaign DON’T FIX IT, including an impressive presentation by Declan Hill investigative journalist. Mario Cizmek, Croatian former professional player, shared his personal experience on how lack of payments and financial problems turned him into a match fixing victim. Players’ transfer matters including TPO (third party ownership), players’ agents regulations and the functioning of the FIFA DRC were discussed.

The new FIFPro Board for the 2013-2017 has been installed with Philippe Piat taking over from Leonardo Grosso as FIFPro president. Also Division Europe will have a new President, Bobby Barnes from the English PFA.

The Maltese players’ representatives took part in the traditional friendly match played between the members of various divisions and organised by the host country. The European team beat the Rest of the World team by 4 goals to 1.

The FIFPro Merit Award 2013 has been awarded to Stiliyan Petrov Bulgarian former National team captain who is under going treatment after being diagnosed with acute leukaemia in 2012. The Stiliyan Petrov Foundation was established in 2013. Its aim is to help address the issues involved when people are diagnosed with leukaemia. FIFPro donated $25,000 to the Stiliyan Petrov Foundation.