We have summarised below the most significant updates to the new edition of the RSTP which come into force on 1 March 2015, relating to overdue payables, the transfer of minors and the division of jurisdiction between FIFA’s Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC) and National Dispute Resolution Chambers (NDRC).
The most significant update relates to the inclusion of a new Article 12bis in the RSTP relating to overdue payables. Under this new article, if a club has delayed a due payment by more than 30 days without a valid contractual basis, they may be sanctioned with a warning, fine, reprimand, or transfer ban up to two registration periods – or a combination of these sanctions. The article refers to payments in the context of financial obligations towards players and other clubs as stipulated in player contracts and transfer agreements. Presumably, so long as they are mentioned in the contracts, this definition should also extend to cover the payment of image rights, bonuses, accommodation benefits, solidarity payments and other ancillary payments however this is not entirely clear.
While this provision appears to give FIFA enhanced powers, it remains to be seen how quickly matters will be dealt with in practice given how long FIFA usually takes to resolve disputes. Nevertheless, considering the potential implications of this new article, it is advisable that you familiarize yourself with these provisions here.
Secondly, off the back of their recent high profile "protection of minors" dispute with Barcelona FC, FIFA has also amended Article 9 (4) of the RSTP to reduce the minimum age at which an International Transfer Certificate (ITC) is required from 12, down to 10. Further, FIFA has re-emphasized that prior to the transfer of a minor aged 10 and above, the relevant national association must submit an application for approval to the sub-committee of the FIFA Players’ Status Committee.
There is also an amendment to Article 22(b) FIFA RSTP, which clarifies that in employment related disputes between clubs and overseas players, parties can explicitly include a clause in the player contract stating that any disputes will be heard by the NDRC instead of the FIFA DRC. However, even if there was such a NDRC clause, we note that FIFA may still theoretically have jurisdiction if the NDRC is not independent or does not guarantee fair proceedings and/or equal representation by players and clubs.