UEFA and FIFPRO Europe pledge to strengthen their collaboration

In Stuttgart, UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin met with David Terrier, President of FIFPRO Europe, and members of the FIFPRO Europe board in an attempt to improve the working relationship between the two parties and professional footballers in Europe.

Key topics covered included football governance, player workload trends, and the growth of women’s football.

The two organisations had plans previously to mend the relationship and focus solely on employment matters affecting male and female players within the European football pyramid.

The meeting not only emphasised the growing relationship between UEFA and FIFPRO Europe, but it also highlighted greater player inclusion in decision-making processes, giving them more agency around matters that affect them.

This will be touched on by creating a new player-specific forum for important discussions with UEFA, complimenting the annual UEFA Convention on European football’s future.

UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin spoke on the meeting and the progress it will make on the sustainability of football in Europe.

“Since David Terrier’s election as President of FIFPRO Europe, we have covered significant ground in our collaborative efforts. We may not agree on every issue and work remains to be done, but our progress across a wide range of areas is evident,” he said in a statement.

“In recent months, we have successfully implemented measures to tackle issues affecting players in both men’s and women’s football while also improving governance structures. This ongoing dialogue is essential as we strive to address the evolving challenges in football.”

David Terrier, President of FIFPRO Europe expressed a similar sentiment about the importance of these healthy discussions with UEFA.

“Our collaboration with UEFA is going from strength to strength and I would like to thank Aleksander Čeferin in understanding the key issues facing players today,” Terrier explained in a statement.

“Our primary objective is to create a healthy and sustainable environment for all players in Europe, and we very much see UEFA as a key partner to build long-lasting solutions.

“We look forward to achieving more, tangible outcomes for the players we represent and, generally, for the betterment of professional football across the continent.”

The solidarity-based football pyramid in Europe also ensures that benefits and resources are distributed across all European leagues, players and clubs so they can properly tackle these issues at all levels.

It is a fantastic step forward in improving the quality of European football by listening to players on what they find most challenging in the professional game, and it will be interesting to see how the player forum affects decisions in the near future.

Denmark men’s national team refuse a pay rise to ensure the women are paid better

Denmark’s national men’s team have turned down a pay rise for the next four years in exchange for better pay and conditions for the Denmark women’s team.

Set to begin following the completion of EURO 2024, his historic agreement signed between the Denmark players’ union and the Danish football governing association (DBU), sees the women’s team guaranteed the same base pay as the men when representing the national team.

The DBU had previously expressed a desire to create equal pay for the men’s and women’s teams. They had insisted, however, that this money come from the men’s team, a decision that both the women’s and men’s teams were uncomfortable with.

“We didn’t want to talk with the DBU if the only way to give the women more money, would be by deducting it from the men’s team. That’s not how you create equality,” Spillerforeningen Director Michael Sahl Hansen said in a statement.

The male players worked with the players union, known as Spillerforeningen, to explore an alternate path to equality instead. Their goal was not to lower the conditions of the men’s team to align with that of the women’s, but rather to raise the pay and conditions of the women’s team to the level of the men’s. To achieve this goal, the men chose not to demand any change in their pay and conditions in their new agreement, with the money instead being used to support women’s and youth teams.

“It’s an extraordinary step to help improve the conditions of the women’s national teams. So, instead of looking for better conditions for themselves, the players thought about supporting the women’s team,” Sahl Hansen added.

The agreement also marks a 50% increase in insurance coverage for the women’s team – a welcome move, considering the dramatic increase in injuries in women’s football. This increase has been funded by a decrease in men’s insurance coverage.

Other measures announced in the deal also include the creation of a development fund and a clubhouse that all Danish national teams can use. These will be jointly funded by the men’s team and the footballing association and will help safeguard the future of Danish football.

Sahl Hansen outlined that the male players needed no convincing and that they were very happy with the presented plan. The women’s team is also pleased with the support from their male counterparts but believe that the money should come from the football association, rather than the men’s side.

This move is particularly significant for Denmark as their women’s team have faced a long battle for equality. At the 1971 World Cup, the former DBU Chair refused to admit the women’s team into the association, remarking that women’s football was just a fad and that it could not be taken seriously. After finishing second place in the coveted European Championship in 2017, the Denmark women’s team went on strike due to poor pay conditions. During this time it was revealed that the average salary for women’s national team players was around A$2,771 (1,880 Euros) a month. At this time, the average monthly salary in Denmark was above A$7369 (5,000 Euros).

By prioritising equality, the men’s team has made an extraordinary commitment to a fairer future for Danish football.

Source: FIFPRO, the global union for football players.

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