Works councils elections held in football clubs

Football players in top Austrian clubs have been holding works council elections, and by mid-January 1999, 14 elections had been held and two works councils had been formally constituted. Meanwhile, a sectoral agreement for football is still under negotiation but has attained new urgency in the light of attempts to market the league more intensively.

A sectoral collective agreement between the Association of Football Players (Verein der Fußballer, VdF) and the Federal Football League (Bundesliga), the association of football clubs, over which negotiations began on 10 June 1998 (AT9806194F), has still not been concluded. In the meantime, football players have begun to form works councils. By mid-January 1999, elections had been held in 14 clubs and in two of the top 10 clubs a works council had been constituted.

The sector's biggest issue at the moment is the entry of a new, Canadian financier into Austrian football, who has taken initiatives to market the league more intensively. The players and the VdF are concerned that the clubs may have sold the rights to the players' pictures and images to the financier's marketing organisation without any benefit to the players. The trade union has threatened to sue for compensation if this is the case. The financier has an expressly stated aversion to trade unions. This has added urgency to the negotiations over the collective agreement, which players declared to be the top priority at a meeting in Vienna in January.

Meanwhile the discussion over legislation for sport workers is progressing step by step. It is now clear that labour law, covering areas like holiday entitlements and the right to exercise one's occupation, will form an important aspect. It is not yet clear whether specific legislation is intended, as in France, or whether existing law will be adapted for the purpose.

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