FIFPRO is celebrating 25 years since the landmark Bosman ruling changed football transfers forever by recognising the contribution made by six key figures or teams.
On 15 December 1995, the European Court of Justice ruled that Belgian footballer Jean-Marc Bosman and other footballers could move between clubs as free agents once their contract had expired.
The global representative body of players is unveiling a virtual wall at its headquarters in the Netherlands, with the FIFPRO Gallery set be extended further over time as new players make their mark.
“I’d say that because of my stubbornness and with the help of FIFPRO, I won the case in the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg in 1995,” said Bosman.
“For me personally, the Bosman ruling represents liberty.”
As well as Bosman, former player, manager, football director and broadcaster Jimmy Hill, who died in 2015, is among those honoured for his work on player salary and remuneration after he helped to ensure the abolition of the maximum wage for players.
Also included for recognition are former England international George Eastham (Domestic Freedom of Movement); USA Women’s World Cup-winning squad the 99ers (A New Era of Women’s Football); the Afghanistan Women’s National Team (Fighting Abuse); and Zahir Belounis (Human Rights).
FIFPRO general secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffmann said: “FIFPRO and our national player unions are proud of the legacy of these players and the opportunity to have played a part in many of these stories.
“We salute these men and women who through personal sacrifices and collective action have changed the history of football for the better and often even reached far beyond the boundaries of our sport.
“It is important to remember this history and inspire the actions of the next generation.
“We will honour the responsibility they gave to us and continue to robustly represent today’s footballers following the same path by standing up for what they believe is right and fair.
“All players should be free to express their desire for change and encouraged to use their voice to seek change in football and society without fear of retribution. This remains as important today as ever.”
FIFPRO president Philippe Piat said: “These players shaped what FIFPRO is today and it is a pleasure to be able to look back on these victories they have achieved for themselves and their fellow professionals.
“There are many more stories and we will keep shedding light on these remarkable individuals and teams, whose perseverance changed the face of football.
“The work of FIFPRO and our player unions is never over, there are still many injustices to tackle. In the same way we stood together with many of these players, we will continue to offer help to today’s generation of footballers and those generations that follow them.”