Oct 14, 2019

New Amendments To The Regulations On The Status & Transfer of Players By FIFA (Pt.1)




Introduction

One of the most important regulations made by FIFA which ensures contractual stability in football and a healthy relationship amongst players, clubs and member associations is the ‘Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players’ (RSTP).

This Regulation is often amended yearly in order to cover new developments or issues that occurred in the previous year. This is done through the publication of a new version of the RSTP, and through Circulars that are usually published on the official website of FIFA.


This article (a series) highlights the various amendments which have been made to the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players in 2019.

1. Amendment to the definition of “third-party”.

Under previous versions of the Regulations of the Status & Transfer of Players prior to 2019, “third party” was defined by FIFA as:

“a party other than the two clubs transferring a player from one to the other, or any previous club, with which the player has been registered.”



Based on that definition, ONLY a buying club, a selling club, or any former club of a player were NOT considered as third parties. This meant that any other person or organization other than those three were considered third parties.

However, by virtue of the amendment as contained in definition No 14 of the 2019 version of the RSTP, players are now included among those NOT to be considered as third parties in football. A third party is now presently defined as:

“ a party other than the player being transferred, the two clubs transferring the player from one to the other, or any previous club, with which the player has been registered.”

Based on the above, the only persons who are NOT third parties are:

1.      A player being transferred;

2.      The selling club;

3.      The buying club; and

4.      Any former club of the player being transferred.

Do you know that by virtue of the above amendment, a player can now benefit from his/her own transfer fee? Article 18ter of the RSTP provides:

“No club or player shall enter into an agreement with a third-party whereby a third-party is being entitled to participate, either in full or in part, in compensation payable in relation to the future transfer of a player from one club to another, or is being assigned any rights in relation to a future transfer or transfer compensation.”

From the above definition in Article 18ter, it is apparent that a “third party” is prohibited by FIFA from benefiting from a transfer compensation. However, since the definition of a “third party” now excludes a player being transferred, it means that a player can now be LEGALLY entitled to a part of or the whole of his future transfer fee (if agreed with his club) without being in violation of Article 18ter of the RSTP.

According to FIFA, “…such amounts promised to the players should be seen as part of the remuneration due to the players under their employment relationships with their clubs and such agreements should not be considered a violation of FIFA’s rules on third-party ownership of players’ economic rights.” This is also in line with the jurisprudence of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee in the June 2018 decisions involving Panathinaikos FC, Werder Bremen FC & others. 

Players and their representatives can leverage on this henceforth, by requesting a percentage of a future transfer fee for the player, especially where the buying club is unable to afford decent wages, sign-on fees, loyalty bonuses. performance related-bonuses, etc.

This amendment came into force on June 1, 2019.

2. Amendment to the “Registration” of Players.


Under the previous and the present versions of the RSTP, it was/is not stipulated the manner in which amateur and professional players should be registered; whether manually or electronically.

Article 5 (1) of the RSTP 2019 provides:

“A player must be registered at an association to play for a club as either a professional or an amateur in accordance with the provisions of article 2. Only registered players are eligible to participate in organised football …”

However, by virtue of FIFA Circular No 1679 dated 1st July 2019, national associations would henceforth be required by FIFA to have an Electronic Player Registration System for both male and female players, whether professionals or amateurs. Under this system, it is mandatory for a player to be given a FIFA ID when the player is first registered by his/her national association.

The amendments (boldened) in the Circular provides:

Each association must have an electronic player registration system, which must assign each player a FIFA ID when the player is first registered. A player must be registered at an association to play for a club as either a professional or an amateur in accordance with the provisions of article 2. Only electronically registered players are eligible to participate in organised football …”

It can be seen from the above that when FIFA begins to implement compliance, players who are not electronically registered and without a FIFA ID will not be able to participate in organized football. Note that this amendment came into force on 1st October 2019, but mandatory implementation will commence as from July 1, 2020.

(…to be continued)

Written by ‘Tosin Akinyemi

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