MFPA joins other players’ unions to celebrate FIFPro’s 50th anniversary

The Malta Football Players Association attended the FIFPro Annual General Assembly, which was held last month, marking the golden anniversary of FIFPro.

Various issues were discussed including financial reports, appointment of members of the Supervisory Board of FIFPro Holdings, vision and objectives of FIFPro, challenge to the current transfer system, and changes to the FIFPro statute and protocol. A code of conduct was announced for all FIFPro representatives around the globe.

Michael Lahoud and Kei Kamara were presented with the 2015 FIFPro Merit Award. Both Major League Soccer players earned this special recognition including a cheque of $25,000 for their involvement in the project schools for Salone, in Sierra Leone.

The FIFPro Divisions Europe, Americas, Asia and Africa held their division Annual General Assembly. Division Europe discussed the FIFA governance crisis and the collaboration with UEFA, the evaluation of the Social Dialogue meetings and progress, FIFPro communication and player engagement campaigns and also match fixing. The Executive Education Program offered by FIFPro has been successful and first graduates were announced.

All divisions convened for the final session of the Annual General Assembly with presentations on video technology during football games, where former AC Milan and Netherlands National Team star, Marco Van Basten, addressed the Congress since he is in favour of such technology. Other items on the agenda included FIFPro and women’s football, FIFPro’s efforts to improve health and safety, UNI World Athletes, and an update on the FIFPro World XI.

The Annual General Congress continued with a Legal Conference on footballers’ rights. Various athletes from various sports, who during their careers fought and won legal battles, addressed the conference and participated in Q&A sessions. Among the athletes were long distance Spanish swimmer David Meca-Medina, former cyclist Bruno Walrave, former basketball player Jyri Lehtonen, footballers Olivier Bernard, George Eastham, Zahir Belounis and the world renowned Jean-Marc Bosman.

15th of December 1995 marks the day of the Bosman ruling. The European Court of Justice delivered its now famous Bosman judgment, which stated that this Belgian football player was free to join any other club on a free transfer after his contract with his previous club had expired. The ruling was not restricted to football players, but was beneficial to all athletes.

Celebrating both the FIFPro and the Bosman ruling anniversary, FIFPro paid tribute to all current and former football players and other athletes who took legal action to fight the powers in football and other sports, for their own benefit, and also for the benefit of others, often putting their own careers at risk.

Most importantly, these legal legends helped to improve the rights of many of their peers in sports.