What is the “Gentlemen's Agreement” and why AMFPro sent a letter about this to FIFA

Since 1995, FIFA guarantees freedom of employment for soccer professionals, but in Mexico it does not fully apply (Photo: Special)
Since 1995, FIFA guarantees freedom of employment for soccer professionals, but in Mexico it does not fully apply (Photo: Special)

The Mexican Association of Professional Soccer Players (AMFPro) sent this Friday a letter to International Federation of Associated Football (FIFA) to make them aware of the lack of a Regulation of Transfers and Contracts in Mexican soccer.

In the 13-sheet missive, the AMFPro exposed a series of actions who has made the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) and its Liga MX / Ascenso MX that violate the labor rights of professional soccer players in the country.

Among them the so-called “Gentlemen's Covenant”, An unwritten agreement between managers and team owners that it prevents footballers from freely contracting with Mexican and foreign clubs. It generally applies when the players' contract is expiring or has expired.

The Pact contravenes FIFA rules, which since 1995 guarantees freedom of employment for soccer professionals. This is what the article 18 of the Regulations on the statute and transfer of Federation players:

A professional player will be free to sign a contract with another club, if his contract with the current club has expired or will expire within six months.

Oswaldo Alanís, a former Chivas de Guadalajara player, was a recent victim of
Oswaldo Alanís, a former Chivas de Guadalajara player, was a recent victim of the "Pacto de caballeros" (Photo: AFP)

Despite this, the irregular agreement applies in Mexico, where footballers who want to change teams must pay compensation to the club where they worked. If they don't, they are out of the professional league. And if they get a job on a foreign circuit, they can hardly be rehired at home.

It is worth mentioning that, in 2018, the AMFPro together with Yon de Luisa and Enrique Bonilla, President of the FMF and Liga MX respectively, agreed the creation of a new regulation for the regulation of the hiring of footballers. However, the AMFPro indicated in the letter that to date said Pact continues to exist

Despite the situation that has existed for almost twenty years, for more than two years the FMF has given long and multiple pretexts, in relation to compliance with the Joint Declaration signed on April 25, 2018 and, therefore, with the issuance and publication of a Transfer and Contracting Regulation that must exist in accordance with FIFA regulations, to govern the rights of professional soccer players who carry out their work in Mexico and which, to date, is not due to the FMF itself, which which has a harmful impact on your labor and human rights

Part of the letter sent to FIFA (Photo: Twitter / AMFproMX)
Part of the letter sent to FIFA (Photo: Twitter / AMFproMX)

And it is that, in the AMFPro chronology, this is the paragraph that “was not the consensual”To continue with the revision and subsequent approval of the contracting regulations, hinting that the“ Gentlemen's Agreement ”would continue to be present.

"Article 37 (which establishes the freedom of contract), a paragraph was included that to the letter says: The player who signs a contract with another club within the last six months of validity with the club that has his registration, must give notice to the same in order to find out about the player's plans and the club can act accordingly"

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From there, "neither the FMF nor the Liga MX has stated anything about the issuance and publication of the Regulations on Transfers and Contracts, despite the fact that the AMFpro has insisted on the subject in the meetings that, at the time, have been held with the FMF"Therefore, the players' organization considered it necessary to send this document to FIFA.

The AMF was born in October 2017 and according to its president, the former player of America, Álvaro Ortíz, it is not a union but a civil organization that aims to represent the interests of professional soccer players in Mexico.

Why could it not be eradicated in Mexico?

Footballers who want to change teams must pay compensation to the club where they worked. If they don't, they are out of the professional league (Photo: Cuartoscuro)
Footballers who want to change teams must pay compensation to the club where they worked. If they don't, they are out of the professional league (Photo: Cuartoscuro)

For Héctor Huerta, journalist of ESPN, the money it is part of the survival of the “Pacto de Caballeros”. Likewise, players who accept the rules of the team owners, he told the BBC Mundo portal in 2018.

"Not everything is bad, we can say that there are victims, but when you accept and sign you become an accompliceHuerta added.

However, also there is a good dose of fear, especially due to the working conditions of most of the players. And it is that unlike those considered as stars, who can negotiate contracts for several years and impose some conditions, the rest are obliged to accept the conditions of the clubs; that includes a kind of vow of silence.

"They end up abiding by the provisions of the owners, even if they are anti-regulatoryHéctor Huerta sentenced.

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