Indonesia was a fitting location for the general assembly of FIFPro Division Asia/Oceania. The six professional footballers’ associations that attended discussed the status of football in Asia and Oceania.

The representatives of the players’ trade unions of Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia and New Zeeland met two weeks ago in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. In that same country, a major reform of national professional football is currently under way.

It is very positive that the representatives of LPI, the new football league, have indicated that they officially recognise the current players’ association, APPI, and are even planning to draw up a Memorandum of Understanding with APPI. Furthermore, LPI is considering including a clause in the standard player’s contract making it mandatory for every player to be a member of the trade union.

During the general assembly, the other five members of the General Division Asia/Oceania gave a summary of the state of affairs in their countries.

  • PFA Australia has just concluded a new collective labour agreement for the national team, The Socceroos, until 31 December 2014. In addition, quite a lot of work has to be done because several Australian clubs are encountering difficulties from the financial crisis. In the past year, chief executive Brendan Schwab has regularly had to explain that virtually all footballers earn at most an average salary, and are not millionaires.
  • PFA India has enjoyed a big increase in membership: in one year, 434 professional footballers have applied as members. In addition, the association has organised several projects and workshops with the aim of helping current footballers with a possible career when their professional career comes to an end.
  • J-PFA Japan is undergoing an important transformation: from players association to players trade union. The consequences of the catastrophic earthquake in March are keeping the J-PFA occupied. The association is considering organising activities to bring some joy and hope to its fellow citizens.
  • PFA Malaysia has taken several important steps towards developing into a fully-fledged players trade union. For example, the Minister of Sport has recognised the PFAM and has announced that he supports the trade union. One of the most important jobs is amending the current standard contract that contains several clauses that are disadvantageous for players.
  • Like PFA Australia, NZPFA New Zealand is negotiating a new collective labour agreement for the national team, The All Whites. These discussions with the national football association are currently going through a rough period.

Frederique Winia, secretary general of FIFPro Division Asia/Oceania, left Jakarta feeling satisfied.

‘The meeting was well organised and we dealt with many different subjects. Naturally we have given considerable attention to the current situation in Indonesia, where the national football union and football competition are undergoing major changes. Partly because of this, it was extremely pleasant that we were able to discuss these things at length with players in Indonesia.’

‘What I once again noticed was that the representatives of all the unions present were very driven and dedicated to working together both nationally and internationally, with the idea of improving the legal position of professional footballers in Asia and Oceania. That is very positive.’