FIFPro Asia ended its 6th annual Congress in Goa, India today as hosts the Football Players’ Association of India (FPAI) celebrated its annual players’ player of the year awards.

In addition to players’ associations from 5 countries, the Congress involved representatives of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the key stakeholders of Indian football, including the All Indian Football Federation, State Associations, I-League Clubs and the game’s commercial partner, IMG Reliance.

FIFPro Asia Chairman Brendan Schwab (Australia) paid tribute to the FPAI not only for successfully hosting the Congress, but for its growth and development since its establishment in 2006 under the Presidency of former Indian captain BaichungBhutia.

“Under Baichung’s leadership, the FPAI has grown into a key and highly respected stakeholder in Indian football.  Its important CSR and charitable programs including for former players facing hardship demonstrate the vital role players’ associations play throughout the world of football.”

“It is now important that the All Indian Football Federation and the I-League further embrace the FPAI into the decision-making of Indian football.  The starting point for that is a standard player contract that meets the minimum contract requirements agreed to between FIFA and FIFPro,” Schwab said.

The 3 day conference saw FIFPro Asia make a number of important commitments, including:

1.       to work with the AFC and its member associations to develop and expand professional football throughout Asia, especially through the newly launched AFC Member Development Program;

2.       to ensure the players help lead the fight against match fixing, which threatens the integrity of the beautiful game throughout the world, including Asia;

3.       to work with the Indian football authorities to develop a standard player contract and national dispute resolution system in keeping with the global compact between FIFPro and FIFA;

4.       to fully support Indonesia’s professional footballers in bringing to an end “dualism”, which currently sees two federations and professional leagues operate; and

5.       to continue to build active and effective players’ associations throughout Asia and Oceania.  FIFPro Asia presently has members in 6 countries – Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia and New Zealand.  Further investment will be made in these countries, together with South Korea, China and Western Asia.

The comprehensive agenda also considered the commercialisation of Asian football, the development of a data base of foreign players playing in Asia, the reform of player agents’ regulations and the implementation of the new FIFPro Member Development and Accountability System.

FIFPro Asia also plans to significantly lift its level of activity following Schwab’s decision to stand down as the Chief Executive of Professional Footballers Australia to devote more time to FIFPro’s work in Asia.

Among the key actions arising from the meeting will be a high level delegation to Jakarta led by Deputy Chairman Takuya Yamazaki (Japan) and Board member Andrew Scott-Howman (New Zealand) to assist APPI.  The Indonesian professional footballers’ association must convince the country’s football authorities of the imperative need to end dualism and avoid being suspended by FIFA when the deadline of 15 June 2012 arrives.  The current situation prevents players in the Indonesian Super League from representing their country and a FIFA suspension will place the contracts and registration of players in question.

“All professional footballers have the right to play for their country and to work under the single global employment framework agreed to by FIFA and FIFPro,” Mr Yamazaki said.  “FIFPro Asia and APPI together with Indonesia’s professional footballers will do whatever we can to ensure that the suspension is avoided, and that Indonesian football once again unites under the auspices of FIFA.”