On 30 October 2019, FIFA, the international governing body of football, released Circular no. 1694, informing its member associations of the passing of several amendments to the Rules Governing the Procedures of the Players’ Status Committee and the Dispute Resolution Chamber (“Procedural Rules”).
All relevant changes and additions to the Procedural Rules are set to come into force on 1 November 2019.
The Players' Status Committee (“PSC”) and the Dispute Resolution Chamber (“DRC”) are FIFA's decision-making bodies that deal with various contractual and regulatory disputes between member associations, clubs, officials, players, intermediaries and licensed match agents. In particular, the PSC also sets up and monitors compliance with the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players and determines the status of players for various FIFA competitions. On the other hand, the DRC administers arbitration and dispute resolution proceedings.
In a nutshell, the recent changes to the Procedural Rules
- Simplification of proceedings;
- Establishment of more flexible time limits;
- Notification of motivated decisions upon payment of procedural costs;
- No more advance of costs for solidarity contribution and training compensation proceedings; and
- New approach for publication of decisions.
1. Simplification of proceedings:
- The parties to a proceeding are required to submit complete claims/petitions to FIFA and exchange the lowest amount of correspondence possible (as a general rule, one exchange of correspondence only).
- As specified by FIFA, should a party desire to lodge a counterclaim, it should do so jointly with its position to the claim and submit all necessary documents.
- Moreover, the parties’ contact details recorded in the Transfer Matching System (“TMS”) will be taken as default information, and are thus binding for procedures managed by the PSC. FIFA highlights the importance of ensuring that the contact information entered in the TMS is thus up to date.
2. Establishment of more flexible time limits:
- The updated Procedural Rules establish that deadlines can last from a minimum of 5 to a maximum of 20 days. Specifically, the deadline granted to the opposing party in a proceeding to answer a claim will always be 20 days.
- FIFA also specifies that deadlines may be extended for a maximum of 10 days (subject however to FIFA administration’s discretion to grant shorter extensions of deadlines).
3. Notification of motivated decisions upon payment of procedural costs:
- The Procedural Rules have been amended so that the relevant provisions are simplified and easier to read/understand.
- As specified in the above-mentioned Circular no. 1694, starting on 1 November 2019, should procedural costs be due, “the grounds of a decision will only be notified to the other party requesting them on time, upon payment of the relevant procedural costs”.
4. No more advance of costs for solidarity contribution and training compensation proceedings:
- The new FIFA Procedural Rules specify that football clubs will no longer be required to pay advance costs when they submit a petition, via the TMS, requesting solidarity contribution or training compensation.
5. New approach for publication of decisions:
- Decisions of the various FIFA bodies will be published without being anonymised. Nevertheless, should the decision contain information that the parties will deem confidential, such parties to a proceeding may request the FIFA administration (within 5 days of notification of the grounds), to release an anonymised version of the decision.
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