The International Federation of Professional Footballers’ Associations FIFPro was founded in Paris, on December 15, 1965, on the initiative of representatives of national federations defending the rights of professional footballers from France, Scotland, England, Italy and the Netherlands. The initiators of this organization were the president of the French federation Michel Hidalgo, Belgian law professor Roger Blanpain and Jacques Bertrand, who became the first president of FIFPro..
The organization brings together national associations that defend the rights and interests of footballers (mainly professional). Originally, FIFPro had its offices in Paris. As of February 1, 2005, the new headquarters is located near Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, in Hoofddorp, the Netherlands. FIFPro has 42 members from all continents and several candidate members, 25 members are European countries. FIFPro members represent more than 23,000 of the approximately 32,000 professional soccer players in Europe. EU-wide, they represent about 17,000 out of a total of 22,000 professional footballers. Of the 15,000 players playing in the countries with the greatest soccer traditions (including England, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Germany, as many as 11,500 are members of professional soccer players’ unions. This gives about 77% of the total.
FIFPro’s mission is to support soccer players around the world. To this end, it conducts a range of activities that are aimed at increasing intra-professional solidarity among soccer players, creating various pressure groups to advocate measures to empower soccer players, defending the rights (including social and fiscal rights) of professional players, fighting for a dignified existence and freedom of choice of employment, and ensuring a high standard of insurance for soccer players.
For many years, FIFPro has sought to take an active part in the global life of the soccer family. It has participated in the process of shaping the current New FIFA Transfer System, including by challenging parts of FIFA’s NST in one of the European courts. FIFPro’s decisive stance led to the start of work on amending the NST. The current form of the NST fully respects the principle of transfer freedom and allows representatives of footballers’ unions to join committees and tribunals resolving disputes involving footballers.
The breakthrough in mutual contacts between FIFPro and FIFA came with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on November 2, 2006 – an agreement in which FIFA officially recognized FIFPro as the only organization representing players’ unions and a full participant in soccer development activities.