Salaries, transfer window … FIFA wants to be flexible in the face of the coronavirus

Wanting to be “flexible” in the midst of a health crisis, FIFA recommended Monday to find salary agreements in clubs, financially weakened, and to postpone the summer transfer window and possible end of contracts to be able to end the season, according to sources close to the case.
C ‘is the result of a discussion started on 18 March by a working group, following the announcement of the unprecedented postponement to 2021 Euro soccer: since the pandemic coronavirus had a “major impact” on the income of clubs, precipitating some to the brink of bankruptcy, football “must find fair and equitable solutions […] with the objective of protecting jobs,” said FIFA, according to sources interviewed by AFP.

In a set of directives drawn up in agreement with the confederations and which will be sent to the 211 member federations, the Zurich-based body encourages “clubs and players” to collaborate to find agreements during the suspension of national and international competitions .

FIFA suggests studying what measures are possible, “including government measures” to support clubs and players, whether wages “be delayed or reduced” and whether an insurance system may apply.

Contracts extended beyond June 30?

If clubs and players cannot agree, essentially on a drop in salary already implemented by several clubs in Europe, but contested by certain players, disputes will then be submitted to FIFA. The body will therefore check, in particular, whether there has been a “real attempt” by the club to find an agreement with the players, what the economic situation of the club is and whether the players have been treated “fairly”.

If in Germany, Spain or Italy, the salary sacrifices of players multiply in the face of the coronavirus crisis, the English Premier League for its part hopes to obtain a 30% drop in wages for footballers, but they are reluctant despite the pressure from opinion.

Forward Wayne Rooney, a former England captain, said Sunday that professional footballers, castigated by some government officials for being slow to agree to lower wages, are “easy targets”.

FIFA also suggests that player contracts, including loans, “be extended until the end of the current season”, that is, beyond June 30, in order to preserve “the sporting integrity and stability.

If the season stretches during the summer, such extensions would allow for example a club like Paris SG to keep until the end of the exercise its center forward Edinson Cavani or its captain Thiago Silva, who are in principle free of any contract on July 1st.

FIFA relies on “moral authority”

Admittedly, these FIFA directives are only recommendations, since it is national law, in particular labor law, which applies in each State. But these instructions “are important and were expected to the extent that FIFA has a very strong moral authority,” said a source close to the body.

Regarding the summer transfer window, the dates of which are usually very limited, FIFA will “push back the transfer windows so that they fall between the end of the current season and the start of the next”. The international federation, which promises to be “flexible” on this subject, will however ensure that a level of “coordination” exists between the different countries.

A measure called for by several club leaders, such as the new president of Rennes (France), Nicolas Holveck. “If the championship must end after June 30, which is more than a probability, and if we want equity to be respected, necessarily contracts ending on June 30 or loan contracts will have to be extended so the clubs can finish their membership, “he said on a conference call on Sunday.

“The first level is labor law, it will prevail. And the second is FIFA, which has an important role to play with the transfer window, “he added.

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