ECA Executive Board Member Ausrys Labinas represented ECA at the EU Sports Forum which took place in Vilnius, Lithuania, on the 30th of September and 1st of October.
The Forum is an annual event organised by the European Commission which brings together EU officials, representatives from national governments from across the EU and sports stakeholders. The aim is for the EU to present latest developments relating to its sports policy and hear the views of stakeholders on the different topics being addressed.
Among the many debates that took place was a high level panel discussion on the Transfer System. The issue of transfers has become a key policy debate within the EU following the publication of an independent report on Transfers which the European Commission presented in February 2013.
Ausrys Labinas, who participated on the panel alongside representatives from FIFA, UEFA, EPFL and FIFPro among others, used the occasion to articulate the views of ECA on this key issue which is central to the day-to-day activities of clubs. In broad terms he expressed ECA's support for the current system operating since 2001 while accepting the need to respond to new issues that have emerged over the last few years. He stressed that football stakeholders should remain open and always aim at enhancing the system within the regulatory framework established by FIFA while respecting EU law. Furthermore, while acknowledging the depth of the work and analysis presented in the report on transfers, he questioned a number of recommendations presented by the authors. Most notably, he expressed his surprise at the emphasis placed in linking the current transfer system to the perceived problem of competitive balance stressing that the system in place aimed at finding an adequate balance between the free movement of players and contractual stability rather than increasing competitive balance.
ECA regularly engages with the EU and politicians with the aim of ensuring that any policy or legislative outcomes result in the continued development and viability of club football in particular and more generally the game as a whole.