Union: Soccer clubs not paying in Eastern Europe
The union representing professional soccer players said Tuesday
its members are mistreated financially by clubs in Eastern Europe,
which can lead to the greater risk of match-fixing.
In a study of thousands of players in a dozen nations, FIFPro
said clubs from Greece to Russia show a ”terrifying lack of
respect” for the fundamental rights of professionals, ranging from
withholding wages to beatings.
Poland and Ukraine, which co-host Euro 2012, are among the
FIFPro, which has threatened to hold up the start of some UEFA
Champions League matches unless the situation improves, said by
refusing to pay players, clubs were directly pushing them toward
match-fixing schemes as a way of financial survival.
FIFPro said FIFA and UEFA failed to heed their calls, noting it
would be difficult to effectively combat match-fixing unless the
federations make sure players are well-treated and paid on
UEFA said it had no comment on the report.
”To organize a strike internationally is of course difficult
but – why not should we show the world if they don’t change the
situation,” said FIFPro Secretary General Theo van Seggelen.
Delaying the start of a Champions League game would play havoc
with the orchestrated schedules designed for maximum revenue, some
FIFPro delegates said.
In the survey of 3,357 players in 12 eastern European nations,
representing up to 70 percent of top-division players in some
nations, FIFPro found that 41.4 percent did not get paid on time,
with 5 percent having to wait six months or more.
”A player who has to wait for his money has a greater chance of
being approached to manipulate a match. What’s more, he is
vulnerable,” stated the study, titled the ”Black Book Eastern
When it came to bonuses, often an essential part of players’
pay, only 53.4 percent said they received them on time. Almost 12
percent of players in the survey said they had been approached to
manipulate a match, and more than half of those who were approached
did not have their wages paid on time.
The study indicated 42.9 percent of players do not get their pay
on time in Poland, rising to 60.7 percent for bonuses. Almost 10
percent said they had been victim of racism or discrimination. The
Euro 2012 co-host Ukraine fared better, with 15.5 percent of
players not being paid on time.
FIFPro said fans were often blinded by the wealth of top players
and fail to realize 95 percent of players may find it tough to pay
mortgages and other expenses.
”As long as Manchester United, Liverpool, Barcelona and Real
Madrid and Juventus are all doing well, unfortunately the glare of
publicity does not shine on parts of the world where there are
major problems,” said FIFPro board member Tony Higgins.
Higgins said he was angered by UEFA and FIFA making the fight
against match-fixing a top priority yet not doing enough to get
players paid on time.
Almost 12 percent of players were victims of violence, in a
third of cases inflicted by their own clubs. The union highlighted
recent incidents in Russia where Montenegrin player Nikola Nikezic
said he was beaten into terminating his contract with FC Kuban.
”What these players meet is unbelievable,” he said, suggesting
the results would have been even higher had many players not
refused to cooperate because of fear of retribution.
Follow Raf Casert on Twitter at http://twitter.com/rcasert