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FIFA to avoid contract chaos and allow extensions beyond June 30

Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

15:17 7 Apr 2020

FIFA will avoid contract-related chaos at clubs across the world having agreed to plans to allow deals be extended beyond their standard end date. 

It was reported last month that world football's governing body wanted the coronavirus pandemic to be declared a 'force majeure', which means contracts are unable to be fulfilled due to extraordinary circumstances.

Player contracts in England - for instance - ordinarily run from July 1 to June 30.

With football across the globe suspended as a result of the pandemic, players who would have been out of contract at their clubs as of July 1 could have found themselves in limbo if their season was continuing past that point.

Such is the gravity of the situation that it's widely regarded seasons will stretch into July or August, or possibly beyond.

FIFA have released a series of recommendations and guidelines to ensure the completion of seasons can happen with the minimum of contractual fuss.

They say the measures have been 'adopted unanimously', adding that FIFA expects ' the necessary level of co-operation and compliance' from member associations'.

Among the key points are:

  • Contracts that were due to expire at the original end date of the season should be extended to the new end date, while contracts due to start next season should be put back to new start dates.
  • Where a player has moved to a club whose new season may have started before their old club's has finished, priority should be given to the former club.

  • In situations where clubs cannot afford to pay players, FIFA encourage both parties to work together to find 'collective agreements on a club or league basis'.

  • When agreements cannot be reached, FIFA's Dispute Resolution Chamber or Players' Status Committee will consider the economic situation of the club, how much money is due, whether the club's decision applied to the entire squad or specific employees and whether the club had acted in good faith in their negotiations.

  • Alternatively, FIFA will allow contracts to be suspended while football is suspended should sufficient insurance coverage be held and alternative income found for employees.

  • With regards to transfer windows, all requests for new dates should be approved as long as they comply with the 16-week limit within existing laws.

  • Players who have had their contracts terminated thanks to the coronavirus outbreak will be permitted to sign for new clubs regardless of whether a window is open.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in a statement, "The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly changed all the factual circumstances around football for this season.

"So, FIFA, together with the stakeholders, has come up with some practical ideas and proposals to tackle these new circumstances.

"Whilst this will not solve each and every problem, it should serve to bring a measure of stability and clarity to football for the foreseeable future.

"We hope that this collaborative effort, under the leadership of FIFA, can provide a positive example of how football can come together and show unity, solidarity and a spirit of compromise in order to face the challenging times ahead.

"But before these times come, one thing must be clear to everyone, especially now: health comes first, well before football."

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Contracts Coronavirus Covid-19 FIFA Gianni Infantino Premier League Transfers

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