Football governing body, FIFA has approved the extension of player contracts until seasons are able to finish and the movement of transfer windows in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This decision was reached in a task force led by the chairman of the FIFA Football Stakeholders Committee, working on recommendations and guidelines to address issues caused by the coronavirus crisis. Clubs, players, leagues, national associations and confederations were all represented in the meeting.
“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.” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said.
It was decided that contracts covering the 2019/20 season in England which are set to expire on June 30, 2020, will “be extended until such time that the season does actually end”. Also, transfer deals due to happen in the next campaign would be “delayed until the next season actually does start”
“Accordingly, FIFA will be flexible and will allow the relevant transfer windows to be moved so they fall between the end of the old season and the start of the new season. At the same time, FIFA will try to ensure, where possible, an overall level of coordination and will also bear in mind the need to protect the regularity, integrity and proper functioning of competitions, so that the sporting results of any competition are not unfairly disrupted.”
FIFA also “strongly encourages clubs and players to work together to find agreements and solutions during the period when football is suspended”.
On the problem of player remuneration during this covid-19 crisis, FIFA maintained that, “looking at all aspects of each situation in an even-handed manner, including what Government measures are there to support clubs and players, whether pay should be deferred or reduced and what insurance coverage may exist. If parties cannot agree and, as a consequence, cases come to FIFA, the factors to be examined will include the following: whether there was a genuine attempt by the club to reach agreement with the players; what the economic situation of the club is; the proportionality of any adjustment to player contracts; the net income position of players after any contract adjustment; and whether players have been treated equally or not. In this way, FIFA hopes that it will be able to find solutions that are fair and balanced for both sides.”