SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — International player union FIFPRO is ready to issue a formal complaint against South Korea’s soccer association and top-flight domestic league for agreeing on an “inexplicable” new standard contract without the consent of professional players.
FIFPRO issued a statement saying the agreement, which means that Korean players in the K-League would be obliged to move teams if another club offers better terms, is a violation of player rights.
“I’ve never heard of it elsewhere — a player not being able to decide where his future is — and I’ve been in football for a long time,” Jason Davidson, an Australian who plays for K-League club Ulsan Horangi, told the Associated Press on Wednesday. “The K-League should be aligned with everywhere around the world. It is a basic rule in any workplace that you can decide where you work and where you live.”
FIFPRO, which consists of 65 national players’ associations, said the KFA and the K-League did not engage with the Korean Pro-Footballers Association on the amendment of contract conditions, which was at odds with the regulations of soccer’s world governing body on the status and transfer of players.
“This means that if two clubs find an agreement on the transfer of a player, and the new club offers him (1 cent) more than under the contract with his current club, he must move,” FIFPRO said. “This obligation is irrespective of the player’s consent and the length of the new contract.
“It is … incompatible with the players’ right to a free choice of employment, which is an internationally recognized human right.”
The K-League did not respond to requests for comment from the Associated Press.
Davidson, a 29-year-old Australian international who joined Ulsan in 2019, hopes that Korean players can receive the same backing as counterparts around the world.
“The Australia PFA have helped me throughout my career and in England, it was world-class,” the former West Bromwich Albion and Huddersfield Town defender said. “I’d love to see Korean players have that kind of support. As a player, your career is performance-based and you don’t need these extra stresses.”
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