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England, France Footballers’ Unions Drag FIFA To Court Over Club World Cup

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George Floyd

The Professional Footballers’ Unions of England (PFA) and France (UNFP) have filed a lawsuit against FIFA in Brussels contesting the timetable for the new Club World Cup in 2025 that was unilaterally established by the world body.

The players’ unions argue that the upcoming expanded Club World Cup, scheduled to be held in the United States in June and July next year, places an undue burden on players.

According to a statement by the global professional footballers union FIFPRO, the organizations claim that these decisions infringe upon the rights of players and their unions as outlined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, and may also breach EU competition law.

Supported by FIFPRO, UNFP and PFA have requested the Brussels Commercial Court to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union by presenting four questions for a preliminary ruling.

“Players and their unions have consistently highlighted the current football calendar as overloaded and unworkable”, the unions said in their statement.

By the beginning of May, FIFPRO and the World Association of Football Leagues had already warned FIFA about taking legal steps against them.

The representatives for the players claim that FIFA has persisted in its strategy of growing competitions against the wishes of player unions, especially by increasing the size of the Club World Cup from seven to 32 teams.

“The most in-demand players are now part of an endless schedule of games and competitions for club and country, with their limits constantly being pushed through expansion and the creation of new competitions,” said PFA general manager Maheta Molango.

The two unions argue that FIFA might be breaking European law by not allowing workers from Europe to negotiate their job conditions together and by not ensuring they have safe and positive work environments, as outlined in European regulations.

They also reference the ECJ’s decision in the Super League case from last December as proof that FIFA is limiting competition law in a one-sided and arbitrary way.

FIFA has remained silent, but insiders close to the organization note that the international game schedule was approved by its Council, which includes representatives from all the continental groups, including UEFA.

They also maintain that the schedule was developed after thorough discussions and deny any claims that it was forced upon the football community.

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