Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs Explain the Importance of Supporting a PFA to Members of the Malaysian National Team
(l-r: K. Gurusamy Govandar, Stanley Bernard and Syed Adney of the Malaysian National Team with Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville).
FIFPro Asia organised a meeting between Manchester United’s Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs and members of the Malaysian national team in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during the club’s Asian Tour in July 2009.
Neville, who is a member of the English PFA’s Management Committee, explained to the Malaysians the benefits that players obtain from having a PFA to protect their collective and individual rights.
The eloquent captain of the English champions advised his Malaysian counterparts that “to have an effective PFA in Malaysia, you must get all players to join, it is obviously difficult to get 100 per cent membership but you cannot have only 30 per cent of the professional players joining the PFA, you must have as many as possible.”
The main objective of the meeting was for the members of the national team to listen to two of the top professionals in the world game inform them of their responsibility to safeguard and support their fellow professionals and themselves by way of an independent players’ association.
Malaysia has recently obtained the legal registration of their PFA and are about to embark on a systematic nationwide membership drive after which the association aims to provide a host of services to their members. However, the most pressing matter for the PFA is the non-payment of players’ salaries by the clubs, an issue of great concern throughout much of the football world.
The professional league in the country is made up of two divisions, with a total of 27 clubs. Almost 700 players are employed by clubs in the league. FIFPro Asia is also in advanced discussions with the Malaysian FA to adopt the FIFA National Dispute Chamber Regulations (NDRC) to pave the way for the establishment of a Malaysian NDRC to enforce FIFA’s minimum contract requirements.
Brendan Schwab and Sanjeevan Balasingam visited Beijing, China in July 2009 for a series of meetings with the stakeholders of Chinese football, including meetings with the leadership of the Chinese Football Association (CFA) and the Chinese professional players.
The main discussion items at the CFA meeting were:
The meeting with the Chinese players was a historic event as it was the first of its kind to be organised in China and was attended by players who play for Chinese Super League clubs.
The matters that were raised at this meeting included the following:
Some Chinese clubs are also forcing players to sign one-sided long term contracts (5 years) to prevent players from taking advantage of FIFA rules to move overseas for free after the age of 23.
The J-League PFA has successfully conducted negotiations with the Japanese FA for the abolition of the domestic transfer system which allowed clubs to seek compensation for players up to the age of 29. The new system is in conformity with the relevant FIFA regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players.
The Indian PFA (FPAI) was established in 2006 under the presidency of national team captain, Baichung Bhutia. The FPAI provides legal and financial advice and assistance to its members and is currently negotiating a new Standard Player Contract (SPC) with the All India Football Federation based on the minimum contract requirements outlined by FIFA in Circular 1171.
Official Launch of the Indonesian PFA
The Indonesian PFA (APPI) was officially launched on 29 January, 2009 in Jakarta, Indonesia as the first players’ association in South East Asia. Brendan Schwab and APPI president Vennard Hutabarat officiated at the event, which was attended by Socceroos’ captain Craig Moore and goal custodian, Eugene Galekovic, both of whom played in Australia’s AFC Asian Cup 2011 qualifier in Jakarta.
African Players Released from Indonesia
Two Cameroonian players, Serge Ngankou Elongo and Noah Ndjee Bakena, who had been detained and placed in Immigration Detention Centres for overstaying in Indonesia, were successfully released and returned to their families in Cameroon following a joint effort between the Indonesian PFA, FIFPro, FIFPro Asia and the Australian PFA.
Both players suffered serious financial difficulties after having their contracts unilaterally terminated by their Indonesian clubs, Elongo with Persebaya FC and Bakena with Persikabo FC. As a result of this, they were unable to purchase flight tickets home and after the expiration of their work permits, were detained by the Indonesian authorities and placed in detention.
On behalf of the players, FIFPro Asia has submitted claims against their former clubs to FIFA and is awaiting a decision from the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber.
Park Yong Soo, Head of Development and Strategy at the Korean FA (KFA), attended the 3rd FIFPro Asia Congress 2009. The Division is currently working to obtain the support of established Korean national team players in order to create a Korean PFA.
There have been two meetings with the Korean FA, the most recent in Seoul in October 2008 was with the then General Secretary of the Korean FA, Sam Ka. The Korean FA has undergone a change in leadership in 2009 with a new President, Cho Chung Yun, and General Secretary, Kim Jin Kook. The Division is in negotiations with the Korean FA to convene further meetings along with officials from the K-League with regard to establishing an NDRC and adopting a new SPC.
The K-League is the oldest professional league in Asia with 14 top flight clubs. Jade North, Sasa Ognenovski and Antun Kovacic are Australians currently playing in the K-League.
The 3rd FIFPro Asia Congress was held in Kuala Lumpur from 20 – 21 April 2009 and was attended by PFA officials from Australia, Japan, India, Indonesia, New Zealand and Malaysia.
Theo van Seggelen, FIFPro Secretary General, and Frederique Winia, the FIFPro Assistant Secretary General / Treasurer, were also in attendance as were officials from FIFA, the Korean FA, FA of Malaysia and the Director of the Indonesian League Board, Joko Driyono.
Important resolutions safeguarding the welfare and rights of Asia’s professional players including developing professionalism and the international competitiveness of Asian football, compliance with FIFA regulations including the establishment of NDRCs in China, Indonesia and Malaysia, and supporting the development of independent professional footballers’ associations in Malaysia, China and South Korea were unanimously passed at the Congress.
The Division also continued to seek a commitment from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to open dialogue and the AFC has confirmed that this exercise will begin in the final quarter of 2009. FIFPro Asia seeks to be a development partner of Asian football’s governing body and envisions that this will result in an agreement between the two organisations that upholds the principles contained in the MOU between FIFA and FIFPro.
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