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Football Players’ Associations File Lawsuit Against FIFA Regarding Club World Cup

Football Players' Associations File Lawsuit Against FIFA Regarding Club World Cup

The professional footballers’ unions of England (PFA) and France (UNFP) have initiated legal action against FIFA in Brussels on Thursday, contesting the schedule “unilaterally established” by the global body, particularly concerning its new Club World Cup set for 2025.

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

According to a statement by the global professional footballers union FIFPRO, the organizations “believe that these decisions violate the rights of players and their unions under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, potentially breaching EU competition law”.

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With FIFPRO’s support, 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”.

The unions noted, “Players and their unions have consistently emphasized the current overloaded and unworkable football calendar.”

In early May, FIFPRO and the World Association of Football Leagues had already warned FIFA of legal action.

The players’ representatives accuse FIFA of persisting with a program of competition expansion despite opposition from player unions, particularly by expanding the Club World Cup from seven to 32 teams.

PFA general manager Maheta Molango stated, “The most sought-after 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.”

The two unions point to a potential violation by FIFA of the right of European workers to “collectively bargain over their terms and conditions of employment” and their right to “healthy friendly working conditions”, as outlined in European law.

They also reference the ECJ’s ruling in the Super League case last December as evidence that FIFA is unilaterally and arbitrarily restricting competition law.

FIFA has not responded, but sources close to the governing body highlight that the international match calendar was approved by its ruling Council, which includes representation from all continental confederations, including UEFA.

They assert that the calendar was the outcome of extensive consultation and reject any assertion that it was imposed on the football community.