ILO welcomes discussions to address decent work issues in professional football sector
The ILO has welcomed discussions with the World Leagues Forum (WLF) and the Fédération Internationale des Associations de Footballeurs Professionnels (FIFPRO) to further address decent work issues in the professional football sector.
The meeting, which took place on 12 January at the ILO headquarters in Geneva, was attended by ILO’s Director-General Gilbert F. Houngbo and the General Secretaries of both organizations, respectively Jerome Perlemuter (WLF) and Jonas Baer-Hoffmann (FIFPRO).
The purpose was to discuss potential future cooperation between the ILO and the social partners in the professional football sector and provide an update on the Global Labour Agreement (GLA) signed between FIFPRO and the World Leagues Forum in September 2022.
The GLA is a ground-breaking agreement that aims to stabilize the professional football environment by strengthening employer and employee representatives on a worldwide level and promoting fair conditions of employment in football. It covers FIFPRO’s network of 66 national player unions, which together represent more than 60,000 professional footballers, and the WLF’s group of 44 national leagues comprising some 1,100 clubs.
“The GLA is a significant step forward in addressing decent work issues in sport and in promoting the sustainability of the football industry. It does so by drawing on a key pillar of the ILO’s approach to decent work: social dialogue,” said ILO’s Director-General Gilbert F. Houngbo. “Some of the initiatives both of your organizations have already taken under the GLA, including on the management of head injuries, demonstrate that dialogue can lead to a common vision on protecting athletes and developing the sport,” he added.
“Relations between employers and employees must take an important part in the international football decision-making. Issues such as calendar overload and players’ health should be tackled in a collective manner. Many thanks to ILO and Director-General Houngbo for their continued support," said Jerome Perlemuter after the meeting.
“The cooperation with and support of the ILO is essential at domestic, regional and international level to foster fundamental rights at work. Managing the future of work requires ever closer dialogue between employers and employees and we are happy that the GLA could showcase to the Director-General the progress made on occupational health and safety in just a few months of the existence of this new international bargaining framework,” declared Jonas Baer-Hoffman.
The GLA follows the fundamental principles and rights at work set out by the ILO in the 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, which was amended in 2022. It is also in line with the Points of Consensus of the ILO Global Dialogue Forum on Decent Work in the World of Sport (2020). Specific reference is also made to the ILO Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87) and the ILO Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98) .
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