FIFA has drawn up plans to rescue the current football season – which would see player contracts extended and transfer windows put back.
In a significant development, the global game’s governing body has recognised the current coronavirus crisis as a ‘force majeure’ – an unforeseen circumstance that prevents a contract from being fulfilled.
FIFA’s regulations state that in such cases their council can make amendments, which importantly they feel gives them the power to act.
A confidential document seen by Sportsmail by FIFA’s working group on Covid-19, to be discussed on Friday, also opens the door for clubs to work with players to agree on deferred or reduced salaries ‘by reasonable amounts for any period of work stoppage’.
The proposals are split into a number of categories and represent a ‘series of guiding principles’ for Member Associations.
FIFA say that while dates are written in contracts (usually July 1 to June 30) it is recognised that those dates are there to reflect a season. They state that this is ‘the true intention of all parties’ when the contracts are drawn up.
FIFA’s proposal is: Expiring contracts should be extended until the new date of the end of the season. New contracts should be pushed back to the new start date of the new season.
In the case of overlapping seasons ‘priority must be given to the former club to complete their season with their original squad’. Loan arrangements would also be extended.
There is an acknowledgement that the outbreak has made obligations (training, playing matches etc) impossible. FIFA say national employment laws will be leaned on.
FIFA’s proposal: Clubs and employees will be encouraged to work together to agree on deferral and reduction of salary by a reasonable amount for any period of work stoppage.
Alternatively, all agreements should be suspended during any work stoppage provided an adequate alternative income can be found during the period in question.
Plus, FIFA to extend the scope of funds allocated into their fund for Professional Players.
FIFA rules dictate that associations may modify dates under ‘exceptional circumstances’. Covid-19, they state, is clearly that.
FIFA’s proposal: All requests for an extension of the current season finishing date be approved.
All requests to extend or amend registration periods that have already commenced be approved as long as they are not for longer than 16 weeks.
All requests to postpone windows that have not commenced be approved. Member associations should be permitted to amend registration dates.
Release of players to national teams – on March 13 it was agreed that rules which normally oblige clubs to release players will not apply in March and April. A repeat is likely for June and July.
The proposals will be discussed by FIFA’s working group later today. No decisions have yet been made.