Hundreds of unpaid soccer players seek help from FIFA fund

ZURICH (AP) — A $16 million FIFA fund to pay soccer players whose clubs disbanded leaving wages unpaid has had 441 applications.

FIFA said Monday 89% of cases, more than 390 players, involved European clubs and the other 11% were spread worldwide.

The fund was launched in February with the global group of players’ unions, FIFPro, which warned that some clubs closed down to avoid paying wages then re-started as a new operation.

FIFA and FIFPro said the money could be “an important safety net” though was unable to cover all salaries owed.

FIFA set aside $5 million for retrospective claims dating from July 2015 to the end of this month. A further $11 million is allocated for the next three years.