Vienna, 1st March 2021.
Dear handball friends,
On the 28th January 2021 the Forum Club Handball has published the following declaration on their web-site:
“General Assembly of Forum Club Handball decided for international transfers not to remunerate player agents any longer, if they represent the interests of a player. This avoids a conflict of interests for the agents. The new regulation is intended to start on 1st July 2021,”
Following this declaration, the representatives of Forum Club Handball have been contacting clubs and handball organizations explaining the “FCH new regulation,” at the same time ignoring the proposed European Handball Agent Association initiative about a Global regulation.
Therefore we would like to take this opportunity and clarify once again the most important issues and make our stand points officially:
- The specificity of the sports agents’ activity has already been regulated by laws and regulations of specific countries and the EU laws on competition. In addition, several handball federations such as France, Hungary or Denmark have their own national regulations. Moreover, the European or the International Handball Federations are the sport institutions which are able to implement a complete set of regulations as some other Sports Federations have already done.
- A declaration of a private association such as Forum Club Handball, named as “new regulation,” is not an official regulation and does not have any legal validity at all. It was made without any transparency and feedback or opinion exchange, missing the consultations or even without taking into consideration players’, agents’ or federations’ points of view respectfully.
- The declaration itself shows a clear collusion approach, differentiating international from national transfers, with the aim to split those markets, with the excuse – to avoid the conflict of interest of agents. Does the conflict of interest exist only in the international transfers?
- It is unacceptable for our Association, as it is probably for all involving parties, that Forum Club Handball or its representatives try to act on their own in order to dominate the market by colluding, taking unilateral decisions and creating a climate of confusion in the professional handball with acts that EU laws on competition consider as anti-competitive behaviors.
- The free agreement between the parties in negotiation, according to the laws and current regulations, avoids any conflict of interest and shall always prevail over any attempt of collusion behavior.
- The declaration of this “new regulation” from Forum Club Handball represents an infringement of the principle of contractual freedom as enshrined the European Law (art. 16 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union; CJUE, 16.01.1979, Case C 151/78, Sukkerfabriken). This principle of contractual freedom cannot be limited unless there is a legal rule imposing specific restrictions (CJUE, 5. oct. 1999, Case C-240/07). Moreover, in accordance with Article 52(1) of the Charter, any limitation on the exercise of the rights and freedoms recognized by the Charter must be provided for by law and respect the essence of those rights and freedoms and, in compliance with the principle of proportionality, must be necessary and actually meet objectives of general interest recognized by the European Union or the need to protect the rights and freedoms of others (CJUE, 22.01.2013, Case C-283/11).
- The European Handball Agent Association considers the “new regulation” from the Forum Club Handball invalid and contrary to the UE competition laws and to the majority of national regulations.
- The European Handball Agent Association intends to respect the EU and national laws and protect its rights legally if necessary, by all actions available.
Since its foundation in October 2020, European Handball Agent Association contacted the majority of stakeholders in European professional handball, including the European Handball Federation, players associations, Forum Club Handball, national handball federations and the majority of the professional European clubs in order to promote a set of concrete proposals to improve the professionalization of the European Handball from the agents’ point of view and build together an open, predictive, and transparent handball market with a controlled costs, professionalization of agents, moreover players and clubs.
- The EHAA proposes not partial, but GLOBAL Code of conduct between all relevant parties;
- We also like to stress out that our proposal about handball agents’ regulations is completely compliant to all existing handball laws and regulations;
- Moreover, our proposal insures the clubs optimal costs and full transparency.
Therefore, in order to finalize the global rules and regulations optimal for all relevant parties, we are inviting again the representatives of all respective institutions: Forum Club Handball, National Federations, EHF, Player’s and Coach’s syndicates, as well as IHF, to take part in a video conference / roundtable with EHAA where we should create final global fair-play handball agents’ regulation that would satisfy the needs of all relevant parties.
Board of European Handball Agent Association