The on-going reform of the football regulatory framework will reach a new milestone when the FIFA Football Tribunal, whose creation was approved at the 71st FIFA Congress, becomes operational on Friday, October 01, 2021.
The FIFA Football Tribunal consolidates the existing FIFA decision-making bodies into a single umbrella body and further facilitates the resolution of disputes and decisions on regulatory applications within the football regulatory framework. It will streamline the existing processes, consolidate and clearly stipulate all governance elements, and deliver a more efficient decision-making system. It will be composed of three specific chambers:
- the Dispute Resolution Chamber, which will decide employment-related disputes between players and clubs, as well as disputes related to training rewards;
- the Players’ Status Chamber, which will decide employment-related disputes between coaches and clubs or associations, transfer-related disputes between clubs, and regulatory applications related to the international transfer system and the eligibility of players to participate for representative teams; and
- the Agents Chamber, which will decide disputes involving football agents, following the approval of the FIFA Football Agent Regulations.
The chairpersons, deputy chairpersons, and members of the Dispute Resolution Chamber and Players’ Status Chamber were confirmed by the Bureau of the FIFA Council on 10 September 2021. Their names are available at legal.fifa.com. Appointments to the Agents Chamber will be made following the approval of the FIFA Football Agent Regulations.
The Football Tribunal is governed by specific procedural rules, which include the following new aspects:
- Procedures are free of charge if at least one of the parties is a natural person (player, coach, football agent or match agent).
- The deadline to pay procedural costs (if applicable) is now ten days. Payment remains a requirement for the grounds of a decision to be notified. In such cases, notification will only be made to the party that requested the grounds and paid the procedural costs.
- An expedited decision-making process for preliminary procedural matters has been introduced. Where the FIFA general secretariat deems that a chamber obviously lacks jurisdiction or a claim is obviously time-barred, it may refer the matter for a decision before continuing the procedure.
- Parties may be invited to undertake a voluntary and free mediation process. If mediation is successful, the mediator and relevant chairperson will ratify a settlement agreement. This will be considered a final and binding decision.
It is anticipated that the Dispute Resolution Chamber will decide approximately 3,500 disputes per year, while the Players’ Status Chamber will rule on approximately 700 disputes and 6,000 regulatory applications on an annual basis.
In recent years, FIFA has made major headway towards the modernisation of the football regulatory framework, with the FIFA Council endorsing three reform packages since 2017.
Further details on the FIFA Football Tribunal are available at legal.fifa.com.