Published and translated by the firm Winter – Dávila & Associés
Paris, 15 mars 2023

Author: Juan Ricardo Galicia Cárdenas

Lawyer with a degree in Law from the Technological University of Mexico, he has an International Master’s Degree in Football Business and Administration from the Johan Cruyff Institute (Spain), three specialisations: in Sports Law from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, in Sports Administration and Management from the Legislative Assembly of the Federal District (Mexico) and in Sports Marketing and Sponsorship from Barcelona Universitat Innovation Hub (Spain). He also holds a Diploma in Sports Management from the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL), a certification in Sports Sponsorship from the Peruvian Football Federation and a Postgraduate Degree in Criminal Law from the Technological University of Mexico.

Juan Ricardo is the author of several articles related to Sports Law in Ibero-America, he is currently the president of the Sports Lawyers Association of Mexico City and Metropolitan Area- ASAD MX. and the Legal and Business Development Manager at MEDIAPRO Mexico and Liga de Videojuegos Profesional.

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🇪🇸 Versión en Español
🇫🇷 Version Française            

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As part of the work carried out by FIFA’s Legal Affairs and Compliance Department, headed by Emilio García Silvero and his team, in collaboration with CONCACAF and the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol A.C. “FMF”, the 5th edition of the FIFA Law Annual Review in its 2023 version “FLAR” was held on 02 and 03 March this year in Mexico City.

The opening of the event was preceded virtually by FIFA President Gianni Infantino, who pointed out that in view of the work to be carried out in the coming months and years in preparation for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, which will be hosted by Mexico, the United States and Canada, it is of utmost importance to analyse the most recent modifications, reforms and criteria to be implemented within the structure of professional football, making special mention of one of the fundamental pillars outlined in the FIFA 2. 0 strategy, which is the continuous search for transparency of the international body, prioritising at all times good governance, legality, integrity and respect on and off the field, involving in the decision-making process the opinions and contributions of all actors and stakeholders at each of the different levels of operation.

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The purpose of this article is to give a brief overview of what happened at the 5th edition of the FLAR, where various reports were presented that are of utmost importance for the football ecosystem and thus provide a thermometer of the current state of the professional scene and where FIFA intends to go in the medium and long term. The two sessions of FLAR 2023 explained in detail the various projects and modifications that have been approved in recent months and which are in the process of being developed in terms of regulations.

To analyse the regulations and practical cases of the FIFA Clearing House that have been developed since its launch in November 2022, Cesar Chaparro (FIFA Head of Clearing House) provided the most relevant information to the attendees, among which were detailed the objectives, regulations, statistics and practical examples of the operation that has been presented so far, noting that up to the date of the event, 4060 EPPS (Electronic player passport) have been executed within the system, thus obtaining greater transparency, celerity and speed in the payment processes of the economic obligations contracted by the parties, managing to reduce resolution times by an average time of 02 to 03 months, thus achieving a great change that will benefit all parties involved in the coming years.

Photo taken by the author of the article.

Another of the topics that generated great interest from the attendees was the new regulations that will be applied to FIFA Football Agents, so the person in charge of speaking on the subject was Luis Villas-Boas Pires, (FIFA Head of Agents), who pointed out the minimum requirements, costs, validity of the licence and periods for the presentation of the exam. He also informed that at the moment 4222 applications have been received in the Agents’ system, so they must meet the eligibility and compliance requirements, as well as having the obligation to take the exam on 19 April 2023 and if they do not pass, they will have a new opportunity on 20 September 2023, with the understanding that clients must carry out any operation compulsorily from 01 October with agents who have an official licence. It was reported that the annual fee will be USD$600.00 US dollars.

The latest reforms in the transfer system in football in terms of minors, academies and probationary periods were also discussed, which were presented by Jan Kleiner (FIFA Director Football Regulatory), among which the new exception and requirements for transfers of minors for humanitarian reasons were mentioned, understanding and adapting to real life in football, trying to be aware of the current situation in which we live at the moment, new modifications in terms of international academies and the inclusion of trial periods for underage players, establishing certain parameters and obligations that must be fulfilled, such as maximum periods and the type of matches and/or tournaments in which these players can participate, achieving a great advance in this area of player training.

Likewise, during the year 2022, different modifications were made to the FIFA Disciplinary Code and Code of Ethics, coming into force on 16 December 2022, so the person in charge of providing an overview of the most significant changes was Carlos Schneider (FIFA Director of Judicial Bodies), He outlined the 70 amendments and 52 provisions made to the legal instruments, whose main intention is to better combat and prevent acts of discrimination, illegal, immoral, unethical and unethical behaviour, sexual harassment, among others that may occur in professional football, and to provide greater legal certainty to the victims of such acts.

Another of the topics addressed on day 1 was the relationship between CAS and football in 2022, presented by Miguel Liétard (FIFA Director of Litigation), who highlighted the great growth of cases that have arisen in recent times related to professional football, being 2022 a year that reached the amount of 360 decisions issued.

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On the second day of FLAR 2023, Antonio Rigozzi (Partner Lévy Kaufmann- Kholer) opened the day with a presentation on the importance of knowing the current trends in CAS jurisprudence, in order to appeal and have standing to be sued on various issues such as disciplinary matters, discrimination, doping, among others.

Emily Devlin (FIFA Deputy Chief Legal and Compliance Officer) gave a brief legal summary of the “European Super League” project, providing a detailed timeline of the project, analysing the jurisdiction of FIFA and UEFA to hold and organise exclusive international club tournaments, as well as the legal and regulatory aspects to maintain this exclusivity.

Afterwards, Leanne O’Learly (CAS Arbitror) spoke about the new approaches that have been adopted in the provisional measures imposed by CAS, among which she explained some examples adopted such as disciplinary sanctions, effects on sport rankings, prohibition of player registration, etc.

With the creation of the FIFA Football Tribunal, different topics have arisen to analyse, and one of the most important is the competence of the Tribunal and when the use of ordinary courts is applicable to settle the possible legal contingencies that arise on a daily basis within the industry, so Mark Hovell (CAS Arbitrator) was in charge of analysing how competence can be understood in each of the cases that may arise, such as determining the international importance of a case or not.

The author of the article (third from left) with distinguished colleagues.

To conclude the second session of FLAR 2023, a round table discussion was held with Iñigo Riestra (FMF Secretary General), Despina Mavromati (Of Counsel BianchiSchwald), Luis Torres Septien (Partner Senn Ferrero y Asociados), Fabiola Moya (Head of Legal and Compliance, CONCACAF) and Mario Flores (Head of Legal, ECA), The participants debated on the areas of opportunity that the CAS presents today in matters related to professional football, in which the participants offered their main points of view, opinions and cases in which the CAS has not been able to determine the best way of decision in order to provide speed and professionalism in certain decisions that have been taken over the last months.

Finally, to close the event, Phillipe Moggio (CONCACAF General Secretary) thanked all the attendees and the organisation of the event, reiterating the commitment of the Confederation to work towards transparency and legality in each and every one of its competitions, pointing out the great responsibility of being the Confederation in charge of organising the 2026 World Cup in conjunction with FIFA and the National Federations of Mexico, the United States and Canada.

In conclusion, we can see that they were two days full of information and legal news, bringing together great exponents of Sports Law and Law applied to football, eagerly awaiting the official announcement by FIFA to know the venue and date of the next 6th edition of the FLAR in 2024.

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Original language of the article: Spanish

LEGAL NOTICE: This article has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for legal advice directed to particular circumstances. You should not take or refrain from taking any legal action based on the information contained without first seeking professional, individualized advice based on your own circumstances. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.

This article was published by Winter – Dávila & Associés, an international law firm based in Paris, in France, represented by lawyers specialized in sports law, corporate law, arbitration and representation. 

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